918 Thug Town Skit
Unless you’re from Tulsa, Oklahoma, and are especially plugged into the city’s local music scene, you’re not likely to recognize most of the names you’ll find on Fire in Little Africa. The compilation album—which marks the anniversary of the 1921 race massacre in the city and asks pressing questions about the trauma that ensues to this day— features a wealth of Tulsa-hailing singers, poets, MCs, educators, and activists. Tulsa native and Black music icon Charlie Wilson is also present. The Gap Band frontman notwithstanding, Fire in Little Africa is chock-full of voices deserving of more attention. And it’s hardly just a history lesson set to music. There are tracks which speak to the project’s historical context, but many more that find its contributors providing insights into the complexity of the contemporary Black American experience. The artists on Fire in Little Africa live, love, and laugh in the same measures that they reflect. If anything, Fire in Little Africa is a testament to the kind of art that inevitably springs from regional legacy. This particular region’s legacy happens to be one of the ugliest in American history, but its fruits—some 100 years removed from the events they spring from—are inarguably some of the sweetest.