Facebook Watch debuts Black History Month special, “Forward: The Future of Black Music” with actress and activist Yara Shahidi and rapper Neelam. In the episode, the two discuss why Neelam inspires Yara, Black feminism, the importance of lyricism and their impact on the culture.
Yara Shahidi, a change agent, shares her excitement about speaking with Neelam as she introduces the first episode of Facebook Watch’s “Forward: The Future of Black Music” series. Neelam is equally as impressed by the young actress saying, “Real ones are really rare nowadays so when you see one, you have to let them know. I’ve been following [Yara Shahidi] for so long, it’s amazing that there is such a beautiful mind in such a beautiful vessel.”
The two discuss Neelam’s musical inspiration, Lauryn Hill, and how her music has influenced both thought leaders. Shahidi also spotlights where her deeply rooted love for music stems from on the episode.
“I was really lucky to be surrounded by musicians. My great uncle is a jazz musician Olu Dara, and my cousin is Nas, and I also grew up with my father working for Prince. It begins to make more and more sense as I grow up, like ‘Oh, this is why I am so attached to music,’ because every musically-inspired person in my life was also a socially-inspired person.”
Yara begs the question to Neelam of what it means to be the future of Black music and the rapper shares this thoughtful response, “I feel like the future of Black music to me is…it’s elevating. We just want everything that’s good for us. Good for our soul, good for our physical, good for our mind, good for everything. That’s the future to me.”
Neelam gives Yara a special performance of her song “Choose” featuring Johnny Venus of the Atlanta rap duo Earthgang. She is accompanied by two background vocalists and a guitarist.
Watch the full episode below:
Stay tuned for another episode from Facebook Watch’s “Forward: The Future of Black Music” coming Friday, Feb. 19 featuring singer John Legend as he highlights D Smoke, a leader in his community who is also helping to shape the future sounds of Black music. New episodes of the series stream every Tuesday and Friday throughout Black History Month on Facebook Watch.