El Paso artists highlighted for Black History

March 3, 2020

Billy Townes was the special speaker at a presentation organized by the Student Government Association and Campus Life at EPCC that took place at the Valle Verde Campus.  



Eduardo flores / Tejano Tribune

Professor Billy Townes was the special

speaker honoring African-American jazz artists.



The event consisted of honoring and remembering some of the most famous legends of jazz, focusing on African American artists.


Townes is a jazz musician and producer looking for new ways to improve and inspire others.


He currently serves as an instructor of audio production and electronic music at EPCC.  


Townes stated, “I want to make sure that students know for black history month,  African American jazz artists from the 1920s all the way up until now play an important role in shaping the way our music and our music culture and the arts that we have today.”


Some of Towne’s biggest projects as a musical artist are his albums called “Everyday Life” released in 2004 and “Alchemy” released in 2012.  


He was also the sound designer for an independent film called “The Line That Divides,” about stories told by families separated by the border between Mexico and the U.S.  


In addition, Townes directed “Border Lords 1” and “Border Lords 2.” 


Townes said, “It is important to understand the history of music because it gives you a better appreciation of what you are listening to now.” 


On El Paso artists, Townes said, “We have some great African American El Paso artists that are very influential on the national stage, Khalid is one of them.”


Black History Month is an annual celebration that started when Pres. Gerald Ford proclaimed February as Black History Month.


The vision of establishing an equal society began with President John F. Kennedy’s administration.


In September 1962, James Meredith registered at the University of Mississippi at Oxford, leading to violence and marches claiming that JFK was a traitor of the nation for allowing an African American register for school.


Days later, Kennedy said that he was going to promote the civil rights legislation to the U.S. Congress to desegregate and stop obstacles for African Americans to vote.


Many organizations have been created to support African Americans.  


One of them is the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), which protects the political, social, and economic equality to get rid of race-discrimination. 

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