One Tulsa and Hidden Beach Recordings are partnering for a music compilation that will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre and will share a unifying message.
A multigenre, multigenerational album, “1921: The Sound of Black Wall Street,” will be released in 2021 and, according to a news release announcing the project, it will speak to the hearts of mankind with melodies and spoken words of healing and restoration after nearly 100 years of silence.
One Tulsa CEO Fred Jones said he wants the album to be a keepsake that, moving forward, may last 100 years in the hearts and minds of people.
“Music is one of the places, along with sports, where people of all races can come together, even if it’s for two or three hours at a concert or a show or whatever, and be in harmony. We are looking at that as one of the main tools and driving forces behind why we are doing this project,” he said.
Jones slipped in a sports analogy when talking about the album: “We are not just trying to get on first base. We want a home run. We want to knock it out of the park.”
The album will feature contributions from local and national artists. Jones said BeBe Winans, Ann Nesby, OmaleyB, Steph Simon, Jerrica Wortham, Majeste Pearson, Lester Shaw II and Verse are on board so far. The album will include unreleased tracks from the late Wayman Tisdale. Jones said conversations have taken place with Darius Rucker and Hanson.
“We are actually at the point to where we are trying to put things together to make the perfect project,” Jones said. “We just had a conversation with one of the greatest artists of all time, Stevie Wonder, so there are a lot of different ways that you will see this project go. He is very interested in what we are doing.”
Jones said the idea for the album arrived probably three years ago. He was hearing about other possible projects to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre and he wanted to do “something that would be distinct, something that would not be like everyone else.”
Because Jones has music in his background, a musical project was the obvious choice.
A news release about the venture said Hidden Beach Recordings CEO Steve McKeever and Jones share a decades-long relationship. They met in the 1990s while McKeever was president of MoJazz and executive vice president of Motown and Jones was the manager for Tisdale on his debut CD “Power Forward,” a top-five Billboard jazz release.
Over ensuing years, Jones marketed numerous projects in association with Hidden Beach by artists such as Rucker, Winans and the Unwrapped series. In 2004, Jones joined the marketing and public relations campaign for Jill Scott’s “Beautifully Human” album containing the Grammy award-winning “Cross Your Mind.”
Hidden Beach, founded by McKeever in 1998, is an independent record label that holds a distribution deal with Universal Music Group. Hidden Beach specializes in urban alternative, R&B, soul, inspirational and contemporary jazz genres.
“I am very proud of Fred Jones and the One Tulsa project’s efforts to bring attention to the atrocities and horror of the destruction of Black Wall Street nearly 100 years ago,” McKeever said.
“The history books need to accurately reflect the remarkable accomplishments and success of African-Americans in Tulsa. Hidden Beach was founded to shine a light on stories like Black Wall Street by giving a voice to like-minded descendants who hold the same spirit and potential. Over a year ago, we agreed to join forces with One Tulsa to amplify a chapter of history that should never be forgotten. We are excited about the project, its core mission and distributing ‘The Sound of Black Wall Street’ to the world.”
Though the album won’t arrive until next year, the first single will be released on Black Friday, according to Jones, who takes pride in the fact that the album will be homegrown.
“I’m a direct descendant of Black Wall Street,” he said. “This project is being done on Greenwood. This is the real Black Wall Street. This is not some cats from New York or some cats from L.A. or some national artists from some other place that (are doing it). I went from Greenwood to Hollywood in the ’90s, and I’m getting ready to do it again. This is from the heart and soul, the real Black Wall Street. This is from Tulsa, Oklahoma, so that’s what makes us unique. We are direct descendants of Black Wall Street.”