The Uncle Devin Show by Devin Walker, aka “Uncle Devin,” is an interactive music experience for children that uses percussion instruments to cultivate their minds. The Uncle Devin Show offers assemblies, school residences, music workshops, book readings, a percussion playground, private events and radio shows to discuss racism and offensive content in music for children.
On November 20, 2021, the Uncle Devin Show virtually featured “Racism in Children’s Music: Unleashing Music for the Black Child”. The SRU Music Therapy Club, the Pennsylvania Collegiate Music Educators Association (PCMEA) and the Mu Phi Epsilon Delta Mu Chapter collaborated to organize the event.
Cassandra Eisenreich, flute and music education teacher, contacted Walker through her own research. Walker spoke at the People of Color conference in December 2019. After his presentation was published, he started receiving calls from people around the world.
“In any music teaching position, it is important that our students get to know the community and the people living in that community in order to be as culturally sensitive as possible,” Eisenreich said via email. . “Music is everywhere and it is a very personal and meaningful experience for everyone.”
Eisenreich explained in his early childhood and elementary music lessons that nursery rhymes and children’s songs and rhymes are often used. Students should research songs and often learn the “horrible story” of many childhood songs. “
Emily Eastman, music education student and president of PCMEA helped organize the Uncle Devin Show event.
“Knowing more about the different racial injustices and cultural appropriation that take place was really important to us so that we could become better teachers,” Eastman said.
Walker explained that it is always a process of extension and growth for all. While Walker writes music, he continues to learn the terms, problems, and solutions for this topic. When Walker leads his lectures, he focuses on three aspects: pproblem, solution, action. Walker emphasizes the importance of not only sharing a problem, but also identifying a solution and proposing an action.
The plan for her event at SRU included the history of racist rhymes and cultural imposition in the United States and beyond, as well as the role nursery rhymes played in the context of slavery and segregation in the States. -United. During the event, he also reviewed the current state of the family music industry and identified current solutions and actions that can be taken to address this issue.
Some discussed music tracks that have a history of racism and offensive content that were discussed during the event were “Eenie, Meenie, Minie, Mo”, “Jimmy Crack Corn”, “Five Little Monkeys” and more.
“When we talk about offensive things just be very gracious and take it as an education,” Walker said. “I like to try to assume that people don’t know this story. I explain to them first and from there.
Walker was nominated for a GRAMMY for Best Children’s Album. Walker and his wife Lolita Walker were two of the 13 co-founders of the Family Music Forward Collective. Their mission was to support black artists, children and communities while transforming family music.