Musical Crossroads

The Queen of Soul: An Appreciation

The National Museum of African American History and Culture mourns the passing of Aretha Franklin, the "Queen of Soul." Her voice, one of the most captivating in generations, was unrivaled and changed the landscape of American music.
Read Moreabout The Queen of Soul: An Appreciation
Kanye West visits the exhibition "Musical Crossroads"
Musical Crossroads

Musical Crossroads: Finding Kanye West's Influences in our Collections

Kanye West’s music career has seen him play a variety of roles on stage and behind the scenes, including that of critically-acclaimed music producer. Much of his work is influenced by and features African American musicians who helped define musical genres. West’s creative approach to vocal sampling, in particular, has become a signature element to a Kanye track.
Read Moreabout Musical Crossroads: Finding Kanye West's Influences in our Collections
Photograph of Run DMC and Jam Master Jay
Musical Crossroads

Collecting Hip-Hop History

On October 17, 2017, the Museum held a special tour showcasing the stories of hip-hop to announce the Smithsonian Anthology of Hip-Hop and Rap, a landmark collection of music, stunning visuals, and powerful stories.
Read Moreabout Collecting Hip-Hop History
Musical Crossroads

Regions without Borders

The history of African American music is the history of music in the United States. Journey with us as we explore American regions and the artists who helped shape our musical landscape.
Read Moreabout Regions without Borders
The Parliament-Funkadelic Mothership
Musical Crossroads

The Mothership, a Gift of Love to the Planet

One of the best-known musical groups of the 1970s was Parliament-Funkadelic who built this Mothership to use on stage during their concerts while singing about the, “Mothership Connection”.
Read Moreabout The Mothership, a Gift of Love to the Planet
Voodoo Guitar "Marie" made by Don Moser with debris from Hurricane Katrina
Musical Crossroads

Don Moser's Voodoo Guitar

Don Moser, a professional musician and artist from Louisiana, built this Voodoo Guitar from the debris left behind by Hurricane Katrina in 2005
Read Moreabout Don Moser's Voodoo Guitar
Boombox carried by Radio Raheem in the film Do the Right Thing
Musical Crossroads

Radio Raheem's Boom Box

Director Spike Lee prominently featured a boombox in his 1989 film, Do the Right Thing. This over-sized, mobile sound system is presented in the Musical Crossroads exhibition as one of the iconic objects from the 1980s.
Read Moreabout Radio Raheem's Boom Box
J Dilla's Mini Moog and MPC
Musical Crossroads

J Dilla's Distinctive Sound

Revered by fans and critics for his contributions to hip-hop and r&b, J Dilla's cult status remains strong and his music continues to be celebrated throughout the world.
Read Moreabout J Dilla's Distinctive Sound
NMAAHC placeholder image
Musical Crossroads

Whitney Houston’s Soul Train Artist of the Decade Award

Whitney Houston was honored as Female Artist of the Decade at the Soul Train Music Awards in 2000.
Read Moreabout Whitney Houston’s Soul Train Artist of the Decade Award
16 inch acetate disc recorded by Billie Holiday.
Musical Crossroads

Billie Holiday’s Masters

This acetate disc from the museum's collection is the master disc for Billie Holiday’s songs “My Man,” “Lover Come Back to Me,” “Stormy Weather,” and “Yesterdays.”
Read Moreabout Billie Holiday’s Masters
Share this page