Just days before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold of the entire country, more than 60 artists from Oklahoma came together to develop the Fire In Little Africa album. Guided by Stevie Johnson, Steph Simon and Dialtone, the album was created to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. Over time, the trio condensed the 142 song output from local artists down into a 21-song album.
“If we can come together and galvanize 60 unsigned artists from Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Lawton to record 142 songs in five days in a pandemic, particularly to honor our ancestors,” Johnson told NPR.
“If we can come together on some history that’s been hidden for so long and do some amazing things, imagine what it will look like once we actually get some economic empowerment and are able to shift and change our culture.”
Fire In Little Africa also marks the relaunch of Motown’s Black Forum. It is the first, hopefully not the last, album to be released since it came to the state of Oklahoma last year.
“It’s like Motown signed the state of Oklahoma,” Johnson added.
“It’s amazing, and it’s a beautiful thing. Something will come out of this for sure.”