December 21, 2021

Memphis, TN — The Blues Foundation is pleased to announce the appointment of Judith Black as its new President and CEO effective January 1, 2022. Black is co-founder and previously served as President of the Tarik Black Foundation; a foundation focused on delivering youth life skills education. The foundation’s mission is to provide young people access to practical information and exposure through real world experiences. She was also responsible for all operations, grants, fundraising, and programs and spearheaded the brand launch of ‘Taking Back the Future.’

Black’s marketing and communications career spans over 30 years. Previously she served as Director of External Affairs at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. Before working at the museum, she left an indelible mark in her fifteen-year stint as Director of Communications at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Black also worked at the National Civil Rights Museum, where she was Director of Marketing and Public Relations.

She was a member and former chair of the City of Memphis’ Minority Business Development Oversight Commission. In addition, she serves on numerous boards and is affiliated with various civic organizations. The Memphis resident is a 2001 graduate of Leadership Memphis, and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Black is a graduate of Clark Atlanta University. She earned a BA in journalism and holds an MBA in Marketing from Strayer University.

Black stated, “I am honored and thrilled to serve as CEO for The Blues Foundation. I grew up in a household where the blues was celebrated and its history embraced. I look forward to drawing from my own family legacy, knowledge of this community, and depth of business experience in advancing the mission of the organization.”

Scott Fitzke, Chairman, Board of Directors, The Blues Foundation, added, “We are so excited to have Judith Black take the helm as our President and CEO. Ms. Black is a life-long blues lover who understands the history of the blues and the relationship between the blues and civil rights. She is committed to working with artists and music industry professionals to make the blues more inclusive and equitable. Black’s passion for education and community service and extensive marketing, management, and communications background make her uniquely qualified to lead The Blues Foundation and the Blues Hall of Fame.”

Black succeeds Patty Wilson Aden. Aden shepherded the board’s adoption of The Blues Foundation’s Statement Against Racism and its accompanying Action Plan. The implementation of the Action Plan included the conceptualization of a series of Blues and Race panels in an unprecedented collaboration with the Delta Blues Museum, the B.B. King Museum, and the National Blues Museum. She also furthered The Blues Foundation’s Blues in the Schools program by establishing a partnership with the Memphis Music Initiative. Further, Aden focused The Blues Foundation on governance issues including the revision of the bylaws. She also supported the selection of five new board members who personify The Blues Foundation’s commitment to maintaining a diverse governing board with the expertise, background, and shared love of the blues. Lastly, she introduced a Blues Museum Guide that will deepen visitors understanding of the history of the blues.