1980: Kurtis Blow – The Breaks Composed by Kurtis Blow, Robert Ford Jr. James B. Moore, Russell Simmons, and Larry Moore.

  • Hip Hop is a huge part of who I am and my household and “The Breaks” was the first hip-hop hit on a major label, Mercury Records. This was the beginning of making Hip Hop mainstream.

1981: The Gap Band – Yearning for Your Love Composed by Oliver Scott and Ronnie Wilson.

  • This quiet soul cut was a song that was often played mostly when I was in the car with my dad, however I feel as a black person “Yearning for Your Love” was a song you knew but didn’t know, like every time it came on you knew the words but you never knew the title. Almost like it was in your DNA somehow.

1982: Michael Jackson – Lady in my Life Composed by Rod Temperton

  • I’d never imagine that the King of Pop would be the singer of the best and most beautiful love song. “Lady in my Life” was a song I skipped on Thriller when I was younger because it wasn’t Thriller or Billie Jean but as I got older it has become my favorite song of his.

1983: Anita Baker – Angel Composed by Anita Baker, Patrick Moten, Sandra Sully

  • Anita Baker’s’ Angel was the first time I’d physically heard a woman whose voice was not only that low but sounded just like mine, and I immediately identified with it. I instantly fell in love with her sultry voice and the words “If I could I’d give you the world” … “Ask me to go with you, you know I will” and so much more it’s just truly a beautiful song.

1984: New Edition – Mr. Telephone Man Composed by Ray Parker Jr.

  • New Edition is my mothers favorite group therefore, their music has been apart of my life forever. This song is special to me and I chose it because I will always remember seeing the physical record that was bought for my mom still at my grandmother’s house. It is also one of the only early New Edition Records where almost everyone has a solo
Niya Ray

Niya Ray

Jubilee Quartets

Out of the Spiritual/Folk movement and subsequently the “African American University Singing Movement” (African American Music) the Quartet Movement was born. It was “originated in

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“Let’s Play A Rag”

During the slowing down of the Jubilee Quartet era came the transition into Ragtime. It is known that before it had a specific name Ragtime

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Negro Spirituals

Who? What ? Why? “A Spiritual is a type of religious folksong that is most closely associated with the enslavement of African people in the American South.”

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Niya Ray Introduction

My name is Niya Ray. I am a sophomore political science major from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. While in school I am studying political science on a

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