Where, Oh Where Has Black Children’s Music Gone?

Survey Shows Children’s Music is Virtually Non-Existent in the Black Community

Even though he was only six years old, my nephew interjected himself into the adult’s conversation with a passing and lighthearted warning, “Don’t put your business on the internet!” I was taken aback but not surprised that he’d been paying attention to the personal drawbacks of using social media. What was more remarkable was that his statement was relevant to the conversation he overheard between adults. Some would have chastised his remarks as being rude. I, on the other hand, was extremely proud of my nephew and attributed his new precocious wisdom to a song off of the Uncle Devin’s Drum Tales CD that I gifted him a few months earlier.

The Uncle Devin Show is an interactive musical experience for children. The music engages children in learning, movement and experiencing world cultures. Devin Walker, the artist behind The Uncle Devin Show, believes that children’s music offers developmental benefits, which can incorporate life lessons. Therefore, a compelling case can be made for devoting more effort to uplift Black children through music and play.

Turn on the TV or radio and you will see and hear many different programs from news and sports, to food and shopping. What you won’t see or hear is children’s music programming owned, controlled, and performed by Black people for Black communities.

According to a recent survey and study administered by The Uncle Devin Show® (TUDS), 93% of those surveyed stated that music is “very important” to a child's social development. However, the respondents believed that there were not enough programs on Black-owned television and radio stations dedicated to children's music.

The responses of the 96 participants who voluntarily responded to the online survey are consistent with studies around the world that show the positive impact of music on children. In an article authored by Laura Lewis-Brown entitled, The Benefits of Music Education, she asserts that, “Research has found that learning music facilitates learning other subjects and enhances skills that children inevitably use in other areas…the children who were given music lessons over the school year tested on average three IQ points higher than the other groups.”

According to the November 29, 2014 article, Twelve Benefits of Music Education by musedadmin, he contends that, “Recent studies show that students who study the arts are more successful on standardized tests such as the SAT. They also achieve higher grades in high school.”

A troubling reality is that not only are there no national children’s programs that cater specifically to the Black community, but additionally it seems many people don’t know of any nationally-known Black children’s music artists. For example, 56% of those surveyed by TUDS stated that they can name three to fi