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Charlotte Krol
25 September 2023, 13:10

Online multimedia exhibition celebrating Black British Music launched by Trevor Nelson and Google

The online hub is free to explore, with works focusing on Stormzy, Notting Hill Carnival and more

Still from UNION BLACK: Sounds Of A Nation campaign
UNION BLACK: Sounds Of A Nation

Trevor Nelson, Google and YouTube have unveiled a new multimedia project to celebrate the impact of Black British music.

UNION BLACK: Sounds Of A Nation, which is led by its ambassador Nelson, the BBC Radio DJ known for championing British R&B and hip-hop, is a new online exhibition launched by Google Arts & Culture and YouTube.

More than 200 multimedia stories curated by 25 cultural partners, and more than 10 new audio and video projects feature in the campaign. Among the pieces is a work dedicated to Stormzy that's been written by Jude Yawson (co-author of the rapper's autobiography), and the late SBTV founder Jamal Edwards.

The online exhibition features a collection of videos, photographs, documentaries and podcasts with notable contributions from Notting Hill Carnival, TRENCH and the Horniman Museum, among others.

Movements that sprung from Black Britain in music are explored, but also in the worlds of film, fashion, language and youth culture. Additionally, one of the sections in the hub explores how migration has bettered the British music scene in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Windrush generation.

The works were commissioned in line with YouTube (which is owned by Google) and the video platform's FIFTY DEEP campaign, which marks 50 years of hip-hop this year. Earlier this month, YouTube hosted the Future Insiders one-day summit and a Legacy Party celebrating the UK’s contribution to hip-hop music.

Nelson, who has presented shows on BBC Radio since the mid-'90s, has been chosen to spearhead UNION BLACK due to his contributions over the decades as a DJ, broadcaster and tastemaker.

He's known for championing R&B by kickstarting neo-soul singer D’Angelo‘s career and hosting the UK’s first-ever R&B radio show The Rhythm Nation, which currently airs weekly on BBC Radio 2.

Calling UNION BLACKan “ode to what has made British music what it is today”, Nelson added that it's an “honour” to represent the campaign.

“It was a real experience to revisit so many incredible pioneers of the many scenes – some we know well, some that until now have stayed too far under the radar. This collection is an ode to what has made British music what it is today. Something that will live on and reinforce the incredible and powerful part that it’s played in shaping wider British culture,” he said in a statement [via NME].

Learn more about the project and explore the digital exhibition here.