our mission.our values.
our vision. our work.
BMTN radically envisions a world where Black people’s humanity is fully actualized, and the liberatory function of Black musical practices is affirmed across arts, health, and culture. This vision is rooted in abolitionist work contending the colonization of Black Indigenous musical traditions. We aim to uproot the commodification of these practices within health+care systems that seek to separate Black people and communities from their healing legacies: their aesthetic being, cultural memory, musicking rituals, language and communication, meaning-making, and health-determined practices. We are committed to the multiplicity of Black people holding social identities that contribute to a non-monolithic experience of Blackness. We not only affirm their existence as LGBTQ+, disabled, low-resourced, or members of marginalized faith-based or religious communities but also as subjective beings with hopes, desire, pain, and pleasure dislodged from the white gaze. Our vision honors the resistance and historical efforts of Black people as political subjects holding personal and collective agency to empower themselves or be empowered through their communities. Our vision centers healing justice, dismantling relational and structural violence toward Black people and affirming Black people through community-based advocacy, education, and action. BMTN’s work strives to effectively steward this vision within the communities we live and serve.
The Black Music Therapy Network, Inc. supports the health and well-being of Black communities through music. Our work centers community-based, culturally sustaining music practices that support the liberation and freedom of Black people. In alignment with our mission, we:
Provide music-based programs and initiatives that amplify Black Indigenous musical traditions and deepen the knowledge of music and health to support Black communities;
Provide educational programs that address the wholistic needs of practitioners at the intersection of music and health and enhance practitioners' effectiveness within the communities they serve; and
Influence structural, institutional, systemic, and relational change that affirms Black peoples' humanity and supports their health and well-being through advocacy and needs-based initiatives providing continued access to music therapy services and education.
Board of Directors
Chair of the Board
Dr. Melita Belgrave is an Associate Professor and area coordinator for music therapy at Arizona State University. She also serves as the Associate Dean for Culture and Access in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona. When she isn’t working, you will almost always find Melita in her garden growing her own food.
Treasurer, Board of Directors
Dr. Kendra Ray is a licensed creative arts therapist, board-certified, music therapist and dementia program director a Menorah Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation. With over a decade of experience as a clinician and researcher in settings for elderly adults, Kendra directs a program offering creative, non-pharmacological interventions for people with dementia in Brooklyn, NY, and is the Principal Investigator for an Alzheimer's Association research fellowship investigating music-based interventions for people with dementia and their caregivers.
Secretary, Board of Directors
Andrea Lemoins is an emergent strategy practitioner working towards Black liberation in memory institutions. She is the founder of Concerned Black Workers at the Free Library of Philadelphia and has a Masters of Library Science from Clarion University. Andrea lives in Philadelphia, writes poetry, collects typewriters, and enjoys reading science fiction.
D’Angelo Virgo is an educator and classically trained violinist with over 25 years of musical experience. He is a member of the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and National Music Teachers Association. D’Angelo has a love and passion for music and believes in delivering equitable and quality music education to urban communities. He also believes that music is a language that speaks to the heart and soul of every person transcending race, religions, ethnic background, sexual orientation and so much more.
Britton Williams is a practitioner and educator in NYU's Drama Therapy program. Britton has presented nationally and internationally on methods and applications of Drama Therapy, extending beyond clinical settings. In this capacity, Britton uses drama therapeutic techniques with organizations, companies, schools, and universities to help guide and facilitate discussions on cultural humility and awareness; implementing creativity in the workday for increased employee engagement, team-building, and productivity; and self-care. Britton is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Social Welfare Program at the Graduate Center (CUNY) and a member of the inaugural Mellon Humanities Public Fellows cohort.
Marisol S. Norris
Founder & Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Marisol Norris is the founder and CEO of the Black Music Therapy Network, Inc., an arts therapies educator, researcher, consultant, and cultural worker. A leading scholar of Black aesthetics in music therapy, Dr. Norris has presented internationally, expanding the applied practice of radical healing frameworks within healthcare. Her work focuses on the human need for wholeness and the liberatory function of artistic processes within Black communities. Her work stems from a focused commitment to abolitionist work that centers radical visions of Black humanity and liberation.