Behind The Screen: Day 26, D. Woods, Mishon Discuss Black Music and Television

Celebrating its third week of Black Music Month, Singersroom is taking a look at the music behind beloved sitcoms, family series, reality shows and even daytime. With help from some of the influential movers and shakers behind the camera and reality stars including Brutha, Day 26 and D. Woods we realize that writers, actors and other ‘behind the scenes’ professionals look to composers and musicians to mold and shape scenes that grapple with our emotions. “Music has major gravity on it (television). Just the way that people use music to create moods and to mold the scene. I think music has major gravity on different emotions and different settings,” says Lincoln Heights actor Mishon Ratliff. Dating back to heralded television series like ‘The Cosby Show,’ ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,’ ‘Good Times’ or recent series like ‘All of Us’ and ‘The Game,’ music from composers and musicians including Quincy Jones III, Kurt Farquhar, and Marcus Miller has been essential in building up the series or creating memorable theme songs for ‘Good Times’ and ‘Everybody Hates Chris’. Beyond the art of composing music for television series, there has also been an explosion of black music artists taking the stage at Daytime Television. You might not admit to being a fan of what mom or grandma called her “stories” but daytime music directors including ABC’s Paul Glass are taking notice of both R&B and Hip Hop artists. In fact, Glass, who brought Mary J. Blige to the hit daytime soap ‘One Life To Live’ says “We’ve shown the industry that we show results when we have music on the show. That’s a battle I’m always fighting, to try to bring more credibility to the genre. Mary J. Blige was enormous, like a 40 percent bump in her sales the week she was on the show. Somebody might think of Mary J. Blige as a hip-hop artist and then they hear a song on our show that has more of a laid-back R&B feel with emotion in it, and it’s tied into a couple of characters, all of a sudden, it’s very accessible to them.” But Blige is not the only R&B artist taking on daytime television, Keri Hilson, Rihanna, Ne-Yo, Usher and Lauryn Hill have all made contributions to soaps. Exploring the different contributions black music artists and musicians have made to television, Singersroom takes a look at five sectors of television, each with quotes and commentary from those working in these areas. Click Here to visit Singersroom’s Celebrating Black Music Month 2009 feature for commentary from Mishon Ratliff of Lincoln Heights; both Day 26 and D. Woods from Making the Band 4; Quincy Jones III of ‘Beef’ and ‘The Fresh Prince’; Ne-Yo and more.

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