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June is Black Music Month!

commemoration - AMS Fulfillment

commemoration - AMS FulfillmentOf all the commemorations and celebrations we cover in this blog, Black Music Month has to be one of the most enjoyable to ponder. How did Black music affect the American culture? The answer has to be – profoundly and beautifully!!

We think back to the impact of the blues, and jazz, and rock & roll, R&B, reggae, hip hop and rap – it’s quite a story. Every one of us can name a favorite artist or favorite song or music style, and while we did our listening, we also learned. In the sixties and seventies, Black music was consciousness raising, spiritual and revolutionary. This was the first time Black music went mainstream and it woke up many Americans to join in the movement for civil rights.

Some highlights of the time were Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song”, Gil Scott Heron’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”, and Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On?” The revolutionary music of that era led to hip hop and its consciousness-raising message. The American people began to look at the experience that African Americans had gone through and were going through and understand the changes that had to take place. Black music awakened us to the Black experience.

The History of Black Music Month

From National Today [LINK] we read about the commemoration’s history: “The United States has been celebrating Black Music Month in June since 1979. The month of June is set aside to appreciate the contributions of African-American musicians, composers, singers, and songwriters in American culture. The month honors the history and rich African traditions that gave birth to different styles of music such as rap, hip-hop, jazz, rhythm and blues, barbershop, and swing. It is also the month to celebrate creative inspiration and appreciate the impact that African-American music has had on generations of performers and music lovers! From tales of slavery and racism and fighting for their basic human rights to finding their heritage and values in their lyrics, Black music covers a vast range of topics that have great significance for this community.

“Over the years, we have seen Black musicians reach great heights, not only on official music record charts but also at entertainment award ceremonies. While President Jimmy Carter designated June as Black Music Month in 1979, it wasn’t until 2000 when the presidential proclamation for the month was signed. President Barack Obama, in 2009, went on to rename the month from Black Music Month to its current name, African-American Music Appreciation Month.”

Checking out what [LINK] has to say about the commemoration, we see President Biden once again referring to Black Music Month. The proclamation displays some insight:

“Our Nation has only recognized Black Music Month for 45 years, but its legacy stretches back to our country’s earliest days.  Black music began when enslaved people, who were cruelly prohibited from communicating in their native languages, found ways to express themselves through music.  Set to the sound of African rhythms, they captured the inhumanity, tragedy, and toll that America’s original sin took on their lives while also telling the stories of their hopes and dreams, faith and spirituality, and love and purpose.  

“Ever since, Black performers have carried on that tradition of using art to break down barriers, create sacred spaces for expression, and give voice to the promise of America for all Americans.  They have created and shaped some of our most beloved genres of music — like folk, blues, jazz, hip-hop, country, rock and roll, gospel, spirituals, and R&B.  Black music has set the beat of the Civil Rights Movement; expressed the inherent dignity and captured the pride and power of Black communities; and held a mirror to the good, the bad, and the truth of our Nation.”

Some Favorites

Just for the fun of it we’ll mention some names… Ray Charles “Unchain My Heart”, Stevie Wonder “Isn’t She Lovely”, Prince “Purple Rain”,  Whitney Houston “The Greatest Love of All”, Aretha Franklin “Respect”, Diana Ross “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and on and on and on.

We hope you enjoy Black Music Month and truly appreciate what America has learned from Black Music.

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AMS Fulfillment is a Certified B Corporation, dedicated to putting People and Planet before profit. We work to B the Change we wish to see in the world.



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