Announcing June 29 Premiere of the Inaugural ‘A Celebration of Black Music: Music is the Window to Our Souls,’ Sponsored by Andersen Corporation

  • The free virtual concert premieres at
  • Minneapolis community of musical artists to honor Black music icons Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin and Billie Holiday.
  • Executive produced by award-winning diversity, equity and inclusion firm, The Rae Mackenzie Group and directed by Minnesota State Sen. Bobby Joe Champion.


Music has the power to unite. America’s musical heritage lifts its influence from Black artists who sang negro spirituals, hymns, jazz, R&B, soul and rock ’n’ roll. During Black Music Month, Andersen Corporation presents “A Celebration of Black Music: Music is the Window to Our Souls,” a virtual musical event premiering at noon CT on June 29 on Facebook and at


North Minneapolis' historic Capri Theater — the site of Prince's first concert in 1979 — is the stage for this inaugural event. Executive produced by award-winning Rae Mackenzie Group, an industry-leading diversity, equity and inclusion firm, and directed by Minnesota State Sen. Bobby Joe Champion, the event is sponsored by Andersen Corporation, manufacturer of America’s most loved brand of windows and doors*.


The program pays homage to three Black music icons who were denied equal rights during their careers: Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin and Billie Holiday. On display will be the talents of award-winning Minneapolis musicians, Lawrence Miles, Jamecia Bennett and Thomasina Petrus. Darnell Davis serves as musical director.


”In a year that put systemic racism and inequities within our own community in the national spotlight, we turn to music to heal, connect and build cultural bridges with one another,” said Chris Galvin, president of the Andersen Division of Andersen Corporation. “Together with our employees, we are thrilled to have Andersen play a role in bringing much-deserved attention and celebration to Black Music Month.”


As the leader of talent acquisition and inclusion at Andersen, Tracey Gibson, vice president and chief diversity officer, calls the program an inclusive community-building opportunity that employers can share with their employees. “‘A Celebration of Black Music: Music is the Window to Our Souls’ honors individuals who devoted their art and their lives toward making America a better place for all. The program showcases what Black music means to the very culture and fabric of America,” Gibson said.


A Minnesota-based company for nearly 120 years, Andersen was named a Forbes Best Employer for Diversity 2021 and is a founding partner of the People Of Color Careers Social Hiring Network. Andersen continually works to build a culture of inclusion, creating a respectful workplace for all employees and removing systemic barriers to success.


Sharon Smith-Akinsanya, CEO of the Rae Mackenzie Group and founder of People of Color Careers Social Hiring Network, said: “It’s so refreshing to partner with a client like Andersen Corporation, which understands the impact it has in the Black community when they selected a venue that is as meaningful and symbolic as the Capri Theater. It’s exciting to be in Minneapolis and have the cream of the crop of local talent to help us create an uplifting program that brings us all together to celebrate Black Music Month.”


As a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) marketing expert on the national stage, Smith-Akinsanya has long held Andersen Corporation as an example of what a corporation can accomplish when it prioritizes inclusion in every aspect of the company. “Andersen leads out loud when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion,” she continued. “Change only happens when leaders embrace change. Thankfully, we have corporations like Andersen that are committed to growth.”


“A Celebration of Black Music: Music is the Window to Our Souls” premieres at noon CT on Tuesday, June 29, on Facebook and at


*2020 Andersen brand survey of U.S. homeowners.



Founded in 1997, the Rae Mackenzie Group is an award-winning Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) marketing and strategy firm with more than 20 years of experience helping Fortune 500 companies, non-profits, and top employers craft winning DEI communication, leader positioning, and messaging. 

Since opening its doors in Minneapolis, MN, its mission has grown in scope to include closing the wealth and pay gap for People of Color through innovative platforms such as the groundbreaking launch of Rae Mackenzie Group empowers its clients to drive real, measurable change within their corporate structure and communities and assists top organizations across all sectors in attracting, recruiting, and retaining Talent of Color. Offering a range of culture, leadership, and social impact services, Rae Mackenzie Group tailors DEI solutions to the needs of each client. Learn more by visiting the website. Connect with Rae Mackenzie Group on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook

Posted: June 16, 2021