The Lies We Tell: Unlearning False Narratives

Frustrated with the field of ethnomusicology, in 2014, Danielle Brown, Ph.D. left a tenure-track position to start My People Tell Stories, a company based on the premise that people of color need to tell and interpret their own stories. Since then, much of her work has sought to decolonize music studies by focusing on the use of indigenous pedagogical strategies to teach Caribbean music and other BIPOC musical traditions. In particular, she has sought to shift false narratives about African diasporic musics that are prevalent in Western music programs and rooted in colonialism and imperialism. In this talk, Brown will discuss some of the insidious ways that these lies, i.e. false narratives, have developed and continue to be perpetuated in music studies. She posits that if we are to create music programs and teaching practices that decenter whiteness and are socially just, music programs must break the strongholds of lies masked as science and erudition.

Danielle Brown
Photo credit: Denise Simon. Courtesy of My People Tell Stories, LLC

Danielle Brown, Ph.D. is a multi-disciplinary artist-scholar and entrepreneur. She is the Founder and CEO of My People Tell Stories, LLC, a company based on the premise that people of color in particular, and marginalized people in general, need to tell and interpret their own stories. Brown is the author of the music-centered ethnographic memoir, East of Flatbush, North of Love: An Ethnography of Home, and the companion Teacher Guidebook. Brown advocates for social justice in music and uses the arts to educate people on the history and culture of the Caribbean and African diaspora at large. For more information, visit: