Fire In Little Africa: Tulsa HipHop Artists Create Album Commemorating the 1921 massacre

Fire in Little Africa artists pictured in front of the Skyline Mansion, a now black-owned venue originally built by a KKK leader who helped orchestrate the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. This photo is inspired by a group photo of original Black Wall Street business owners from before 1921. Photo credit: Ryan Crass

2021 is a special year because it commemorates the centennial of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. As part of remembering the legacy of Black Wall Street, known as “Little Africa” in the 1920’s, and the injustice affected against it that fateful days of May 31st and June 1st, 1921, a group of hiphop artists have collaborated to release an album in its memory.

Called “Fire in Little Africa“, the initiative brings together the best of Oklahoma’s local rappers, singers, and musicians in order to raise awareness concerning the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre and introduce Tulsa to a global audience. Their website claims, “This set of circumstances [concerning the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre] have birthed a hip-hop scene built on love, community, and the legacy of the ancestors that paved the way.” With hashtags such as #TulsaTriumphs, this project attempts to bring attention to the resilience and uprising spirit of Tulsa.

With over 60 artists working on this massive project, Fire in Little Africa means serious business. They host a weekly podcast creating conversation around music and culture, leading up to the release of the album on May 28th, 2021. Warning: Some episodes may include explicit content.

Supported by the Woody Guthrie Center and the Bob Dylan Center, and funded by the George Kaiser Foundation, the album was recorded in studios set up at the Greenwood Cultural Center in the heart of the Greenwood District as well as other locations. One of those locations was in the home of the former home of KKK leader Tate Brady, who led the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. The house, called Skyline Mansion, is now owned by former NFL first-round draft pick, Tulsa native Felix Jones.

One of the artists working on the album, Steph Simon, talked about the significance of recording the album in the former KKK leader’s home. He said, “Creating the greatest rap or hip-hop album of all time in his [Brady’s] basement and his kitchen was a moment that can never be duplicated.”

The movement truly is gaining national and international recognition, as articles are being featured on The Black Wall Street Times, People.com, and Bloomberg.

Their slogan “this is us” is printed on their merchandise that can be purchased from their web shop.

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