June marks Black Music Month, also known as African American Music Appreciation Month. This is a time to celebrate the contributions made by African American artists and musicians around the world. In celebration of this culturally-rich month, Comcast is spotlighting 2023 “Icons Among Us” winner, Dr. Angela Wellman.
“Icons Among Us” is an initiative done in partnership with the Black Joy Parade in Oakland. Comcast has supported this initiative for the past 3 years and was created to recognize local activists and leaders dedicated to being a warrior for racial equality. The award has since become an extension of the organization and a popular initiative that the community actively engages in as they nominate selfless individuals and celebrate the movement of racial equality beyond Black History Month.
Dr. Angela M. Wellman is an award-winning musician, scholar, educator, and activist. As a third-generation musician, Wellman has performed with a multitude of noted musicians such as the McCoy Tyner Big Band, Joe Williams, and Dee Dee Bridgewater. She is a recipient of multiple local and national awards, including the City of Oakland “Cultural Key to the City,” the Jazz Journalists Association’s Jazz Hero Award, the Arhoolie Award, the 2020 Caffie M. Greene Community Building Award from UPSurge! NY, the prestigious National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Study Fellowship, the 2021 Alameda County Arts Leadership Award, and the 2022 Lifetime Achievement Beacon Award from the International Women’s Brass Conference.
In 2005, she co-founded the Oakland Public Conservatory of Music (OPC), a vanguard institution that centers Blackness in the development of American musical culture and identity. Since opening its doors, OPC has provided affordable, and culturally relevant music education for people of all ages.
As a music education activist, her work is centered around ensuring access to music education for African American students. As a scholar and researcher, her research explores the impact of racism and white supremacy on access to music education for Black students. Wellman’s passion for and commitment to creating access to culturally sustaining music education has kept her developing pathways to meaningful experiences in music for the people of Oakland and beyond for the past thirty-five years.
Learn more about Oakland Public Conservatory of Music here.