The 25 Most Important Civil Rights Moments in Music History

The Zaire '74 Music Festival

Date: September 22, 1974

After joining the Nation of Islam in the early 1970s, Muhammad Ali championed many causes for civil rights in America and abroad, but no moment felt more progressive than 1974's "Rumble in the Jungle" bout with George Foreman in Kinshasa, Zaire. The fight was promoted alongside the three-day "Zaire 74" music festival, featuring performances from James Brown, B.B. King and The Spinners, alongside popular African performers sharing a stage for the first time. Attendees flocked from across the globe for the event, as it was meant to symbolize a new era in African-American and native-African relations. To say nothing of its celebration of the iconic bell-bottoms and exposed chest-hairs of 1970s Soul.

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