COMMUNICATOR
April 15, 2024

Ink and Melody: Frederic K. Buford’s Dual Canvas in Black History Month

Black History Month recognizes the achievements of Black Americans and their contributions to the economic, political and social tapestry of the United States. To honor this special month, CSU would like to recognize those who have contributed to this year’s theme “African Americans and the Arts,” spanning the many impacts Black Americans have had on visual arts, music, cultural movements and more.

When Frederic Buford was 7 years old, his uncle Shawn gifted him a small keyboard, the same keyboard he taught himself to play and sing along to. Since then, he has used his musical talents to share his love of music with the world. As a musician and author, Frederic serves as an influential part in honoring this year’s theme for Black History Month, “African Americans and the Arts.”

“My love for music started at a very early age,” he said. “I come from a family of musicians; The most influential person in my life is my cousin Shirley, who I watched play the organ and sing at church as long as I can remember. She inspired me to learn how to play the organ and to devote my talents in the service of God.”

“When I was 12 years old, I took piano lessons for about three months at the 4H center in our neighborhood,” he said. “Since then, I’ve honed my skills and have held staff musician positions at various churches. I have even had the opportunity to play for a few recording artists.”

Frederic playing the piano at his church.

 

As a musician of 38 years, Frederic has been inspired by many Black artists who have helped create new opportunities in the arts.

“My all-time favorite musician is Art Tatum,” he said. “He possessed an unparalleled mastery of the piano that is often imitated, but never duplicated. I particularly love his ability to take a classic piece and revoice it into a jazz standard, as he did with Antonín Dvořák’s ‘Humoresques.’ Though Art Tatum is certainly a well-known musician from his era, he may be one of the most understated and under-celebrated African American musicians in the past 100 years. His other-worldly ability to improv on the piano is certainly an inspiration behind my playing.”

“African Americans have made significant contributions to the world of art and music throughout the 20th century,” he said. “Artists such as Big Mama Thornton, Fats Domino and Big Joe Turner, made immeasurable contributions to the development of rock n’ roll, a genre of music not often attributed to African Americans. It’s important to recognize the role of African Americans in music and art as we reflect on Black History.”

Frederic says he is proud to see how the playing field has leveled, giving artists as himself equal opportunities to be successful.

“When I see singers, such as Tracy Chapman honored for her contributions to music, it makes me proud to see someone who shares my reflection honored, not as a Black musician or artist, but simply as an outstanding artist,” he said. “We are standing on the shoulders of the artists and musicians of yesteryear, who paved the way for us to express our gifts in mainstream music.”

In addition to his musical talents, Frederic is also a published author.

“So far, I have written four books that have been published,” he said. “They are entitled, “Leadership Characteristics of Pentecostal Pastors”, “Six Steps to Reconstruction”, “Leadership in Small Church Ministries” and “Born of the Water.” The inspiration behind them is my passion for empowering leaders to become more effective. I also have a drive to help those within the Christian community to gain insights into what it takes to be successful in leadership.”

Frederic says his biggest inspiration, and perhaps his biggest fan, is his son whose unwavering belief in him fuels his passion and drive to achieve greater heights.

“As a single father raising a teenage son, I want to be a living example that he can follow,” he said. “Although I never put pressure on him to do any of the things I have done, I want to show him that he can do whatever he puts his mind to, even if there are obstacles that make achieving the goal seem insurmountable.”

Outside of his music and writing, Frederic works as a finance director for the Schlossmann Automotive Group, a job he credits his MBA from CSU helped him land.

“My degree from CSU opened doors for me professionally and academically,” he said. “I was able to secure a new position with my current employer, due in part to my degree from CSU, which set me apart from other candidates.”

A former college professor, Frederic is now pursuing his doctorate in business administration, looking to one day work with graduate-level students who are pursuing graduate and postgraduate degrees.

“I have a passion for adult education,” he said. “Many of us did not have the privilege of going to school immediately after high school to pursue a college degree. My goal is to help other adult learners earn a quality education from an accredited school. By completing a doctorate degree, I will be in a better position to make that happen.”

As he is actively working on his next degree, Frederic still makes time for his music and writings. He urges artists to use their passion as a platform to share their gifts with the world.

“All of us possess the greatness and fortitude to inspire and uplift others,” he said. “This is the perfect time in human history to share who we are with the world in the most authentic ways possible. I would also encourage you to do it now. The world needs their unique expressions of artistry. There is no time like the present to leave a literary or artistic legacy for future generations to enjoy.”

To read more stories like Frederic’s, visit the features section of the Communicator.

Disclaimer: These testimonials may not reflect the experience of all CSU students.
Multiple factors, including prior experience, geography, and degree field, affect career outcomes.
CSU does not guarantee a job, promotion, salary increase, eligibility for a position, or other career growth.

Share

One Comment

  1. steve rogers

    Wow – GREAT article … extremely impressive … having had the privilege of Knowing Frederic for a few years now… I’m hardly surprised… he presents himself with extreme excellence & confidence layered with a kind humility … his talent is only matched by his compassion and care for others …