Members of the Carrboro community gathered at the Carrboro Century Center on Sunday, Feb. 19, to listen to Finesse, a rhythm and blues band, perform for the Black History Month concert series.
The Carrboro Recreation, Parks, & Cultural Resources Department organized the series — along with other events such as lectures and open mic poetry nights — to celebrate Black history and unite the community.
Michelle Blume, a recreation supervisor, helped organize the Black History Month concert series. Due to the success of past events such as the Freight Train Blues concert series and the Open Streets event, Blume felt positive about adding the series to the mix.
“We saw this as an opportunity to achieve the goal of supporting local Black artists,” Blume said.
Blume said the department sought out artists from the Triangle to perform.
“We just want to showcase that Carrboro and the Triangle have a lot of local talent," Blume said. "You may not know that there are some hidden gems in this town.”
One of these “gems,” Blume said, is the band Finesse, who have roots in gospel and mainly performs R&B and Motown.
Otis Sanders, one of the lead singers, said music has always been a part of his family. After years of singing together, they decided to create their band and spread their love of singing with others.
“We love celebrating and bringing joy and love to everyone through music,” Sanders said.
Sanders said music has meant a lot to the Black community in the past.
“All the way back to slavery days, they used music to get them through hard times,” Sanders said.
Sanders said the band likes to be part of Black History Month events to learn from the past and find joy in the present.
Tre. Charles, another artist based in Durham, performed on Feb. 5 to kick off the Black History Month concert series. Charles doesn’t identify with only one genre of music, but mentioned R&B, indie and soul.
“Black music doesn’t just mean one specific genre,” Charles said.
Charles liked that the concert series celebrated Black artists and provided a space for Black artists to be seen, describing the atmosphere as intimate, intentional and welcoming.
“Everybody was listening and wanting to hear the stories behind the songs, hear my experience as a Black man in America and in Carrboro, North Carolina,” Charles said.
The Carrboro Recreation, Parks, & Cultural Resources Department also partnered with local Black sororities for some of the concerts. For the concert on Feb. 19, the department partnered with Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. a historically Black sorority.
Barbara Foushee, a Carrboro Town Council member and Zeta Phi Beta sorority sister, helped to organize the sorority’s role at the concert. She said she wanted to find a place for Zeta to acknowledge Black History Month. The concert with Finesse was the perfect fit, she said.
“This was a chance to not only showcase the Black talent here in the community but for people to just come out and have a good time, maybe dance a little bit and listen to music and also learn about my sorority and what we do in the community and who we are,” Foushee said.
Gospel Winds, a gospel group, will perform on Sunday, Feb. 26, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Carrboro Century Center. The event is in partnership with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
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