The Birthplace of American Music Festival

The Birthplace of American Music Festival

By Jarquita Brown

The second annual Birthplace of American Music Festival (BAM Fest) is taking place June 14 to June 16.

The festival’s coordinator and founder, Jecorry Miller of Clarksdale, Mississippi said he wanted to help local businesses in downtown Clarksdale and to celebrate its musical culture by bringing everyone in the city and surrounding areas together.

“Music is a monumental part of American culture because it has the power to unify people and cross borders,” said Miller.

Two years ago, Miller had an idea to host a music festival, BAM Fest, in his hometown because his goal was to pay homage to the root of American music, the Blues, and pay tribute to all the genres that grew from it.

The BAM Fest will take place in over 10 different venues downtown with multiple performances. Live bands will perform in all the juke joints, blues clubs, event centers and staging areas.

Miller said, “The beginnings of American Blues music is a separate genre in the United States with the advent of slave spirituals from Sub-Sahara Africa, European Folk, and African popular music.

It’s growth, development and transformation created Jazz, R&B, Rock & Roll, Country, Hip Hop and many more enjoyed all over the world hundreds of years later. With the Birthplace of American Music Festival, we didn’t just want to make it a blues festival since Clarksdale was the birthplace of America’s music.

We wanted to make it where it was a collage of different genres of music, but at the core and at our base, it is 75 percent blues because that is what we’re known for.”

Miller said the festival will not only entertain but also INVEST. The INVEST Fest is the second part of the festival that reaches a younger audience. INVEST which is acronym for Invoke New Visions Every Since Today is a community initiative “to promote community service and promote positive direction for the future greats of Clarksdale.”

“So the INVEST Fest will showcase the local, regional and national talent while providing meaningful community resources to help cultivate and empower the people,” Miller said. The festival will kick off Friday evening at 5:00 p.m.. at Delta Blues Alley Café on 352 Delta Avenue.   For more information about the festival, contact Miller at 662-621-2221 or visit

Dr. Temika Simmons Joins Higher Purpose Co. Board of Directors


CLARKSDALE, Mississippi – April, 29 2019 – Dr. Temika M. Simmons, native of Jackson, Mississippi, has joined Higher Purpose Co. board of directors.

Simmons is a resident of the Mississippi Delta. She is a proud graduate of Jackson State University and Howard University where she received her undergraduate and graduate degree. In 2009, Simmons joined Delta State University faculty and currently serves as the Director of the Local Government Leadership Institute. While at DSU, she has been an active advocate of race, diversity, and student development.

In addition to Simmons newly elected role as a board member, she has membership on the American Association of University Women, DSU Diversity Committee, faculty advisor for the DSU African American Student Council, and co-chair for DSU Winning the Race Conference.

“It was my pleasure to learn more about Higher Purpose and it’s programming through our Winning the Race Conference at Delta State University,” said Simmons.

Simmons continued, “We supported previous programs that Mr. Lampkin facilitated in the community to educate women and men of color in business and entrepreneurship. This support was extended due to the conference efforts to partner with community advocates pushing issues of social and economic equity in communities of color.”

Simmons and Lampkin have remained in touch regarding future opportunities for collaboration and working together across the Mississippi Delta. “I’m truly grateful Dr. Simmons accepted the invitation to join our board. She has a depth of knowledge and we look forward to working with her to enhance our community wealth building programs across in Mississippi.” said Tim Lampkin, Chief Executive Officer of Higher Purpose Co.

Simmons is excited about joining Higher Purpose’s Board of Directors. “It is my hope to support the extension of the Higher Purpose’s work across the Delta, particularly in Washington County,” Simmons said. “I love the organization’s work around women and minorities and hope my contributions in those areas may be valuable.”

Simmons is a member of numerous professional and community organizations. She has made numerous presentations at state, national, and international conferences. She is also a proud member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.

“My personal aspirations for serving on the board just include giving back to the community and doing my part to make the Mississippi Delta a better place for all of us to live, work, and play,” said Simmons.

Higher Purpose Co Receives $10,000 Grant from the Solidago Foundation

Clarksdale, MS - The Solidago Foundation recently approved a $10,000 grant to elevate the work of Higher Purpose Co. “We are thrilled to support Higher Purpose Co. and shine a national spotlight on the organization’s work addressing the barriers to economic security while building bridges to opportunity in the Mississippi Delta.” said Solidago Foundation Program Officer Pierre Joseph. 

“The Solidago Foundation has a demonstrated history and commitment to supporting community-based organizations nationally, working to shift structural inequities and build power for low-income communities of color.

It is critical that national funders look to the leadership of organizations like Higher Purpose Co. to seek out new models, tackle new challenges, and use their national platform to provide broader understanding from the field to the national funder landscape. Our involvement not only sustains this great work but serves as an example of the many tiered support needed for transformational change.”

For more information about the Solidago Foundation visit:

Higher Purpose Co. Launches Delta Creative Business Challenge

Clarksdale, MS -  Higher Purpose Co. announces the Delta Creative Business Challenge for local residents of Coahoma County to launch or expand their creative ventures. Enterprise Community Partners is funding this initiative with a $5,000 National Collaborative Action Grant. Higher Purpose Co. was selected from a competitive application process as one of the nonprofits across the country to receive funding in April 2018. 

The business categories for the challenge include Art, Film/Media, Graphic Design, Music, and Photography. Fifteen participants will be selected and receive free entrepreneurship training utilizing the Work of Art curriculum developed by nationally recognized arts/culture nonprofit  Springboard for the Arts. "We are thrilled to partner with Higher Purpose Co. to support their innovative, vital work to support creative entrepreneurs. The Delta Creative Business Challenge will be an important part of building a stronger creative community locally, regionally, and nationally" said Laura Zabel, Executive Director, Springboard for the Arts.

Participants will also learn about community wealth, economic justice, and racial equity. One entrepreneur will win the grand prize package valued at $1,000 * to support their business. Participants will meet twice a week from 6:00pm-8:00pm during the month of August which will lead to a community pitch competition and pop-up shop on September 1st. Residents must be 18 years old and currently live in Coahoma County to apply. Businesses owned by women and people of color will be prioritized during the application review process. Transportation & childcare will be provided as needed to selected participants. 

"The Mississippi Delta is the birthplace for several creatives, artists, and entrepreneurs who have built thriving businesses. We are continuing this tradition by supporting our local economy and assisting residents who have creative businesses. This pilot program will be the first of many new initiatives focused on business ownership. Our team and board of directors are grateful to received funding from Enterprise Community Partners to launch this program. We are also thankful for our partnership with the Center for Rural Strategies who continues to help us expand our impact in the Mississippi Delta" said Tim Lampkin, Chief Executive Officer, Higher Purpose Co. 

Learn more about the Delta Creative Business Challenge and apply online here to participate. 

About Higher Purpose Co. 

Higher Purpose Co. (HPC) is a nonprofit social impact agency based in Clarksdale, MS disrupting the racial wealth gap across in Northwest Mississippi by accelerating the ownership of businesses, land, and culture for people of color. For more information about Higher Purpose Co. contact Tim Lampkin at

Lampkin selected for BALLE Local Economy Fellowship

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MISSISSIPPI DELTA REGION – Tim Lampkin has been named to the 2018 cohort of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) Local Economy Fellowship. He joins 25 leaders recognized as representing some of the most innovative local economic and community development solutions in the U.S. and Canada. These 25 leaders, systems entrepreneurs, and ecosystem builders are pushing the boundaries of economic change and championing locally-based, regenerative rural enterprise. They are visionaries, innovators, and strategic connectors who are supporting and strengthening thousands of rural communities and businesses across 16 states and three Canadian provinces.  

Lampkin is the CEO of Higher Purpose Co., a nonprofit social impact agency based in Clarksdale, MS building community wealth in the Northwest Region of the Mississippi Delta by focusing on small business development, strategic real estate investing, and social enterprise initiatives. 

“As a Fellow based in Baltimore I experienced the power of BALLE’s work up close, weaving together efforts across our urban ecosystem,” said Rodney Foxworth, the new executive director of BALLE. “I was so inspired to witness what that looks like in rural economies that are coming to life, in our Local Economy Accelerator last fall. A local Fellow was working in deep collaboration with local foundations and place-based impact investors, in communities and regions that are coming together to create a plan, and do the hard work of making progress together.”

The 2018 cohort illustrates the depth and complexity of the challenges facing rural, indigenous, and second-tier urban communities. With energy, creativity, and determination, they are promoting sustainable land use; advancing community development philanthropy; supporting Indigenous social entrepreneurship; helping communities connect to the creative power of artists; advocating for disadvantaged farmers and ranchers; equipping rural entrepreneurs with the tools needed for success; and much more. "It is an honor to be selected for this amazing fellowship. My goal is to learn best practices to further the mission of Higher Purpose Co. We truly believe ownership of businesses, land, and culture are essential to building community wealth. This opportunity will also enhance my capacity to lead our organization. I'm truly thankful for BALLE recognizing the value of our work here in the Mississippi Delta.” said Tim Lampkin. In collaboration with their communities, Fellows are at the forefront of building healthy, equitable local economies, underpinned by the regenerative capacity of the natural world around us. Learn more about each of our 2018 Fellows here!

About the BALLE

The Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, (BALLE ) based in Oakland, California was founded in 2001, represents thousands of communities and conveners, entrepreneurs, investors and funders who are defying business as usual. BALLE’s mission is to create local economies that work for all.

About Higher Purpose Co.

Higher Purpose Co. is a nonprofit social impact agency based in Clarksdale, Mississippi building community wealth in the Northwest Region of the Mississippi Delta by focusing on small business development, strategic real estate investing, and social enterprise initiatives.