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FunTimes Magazine

Black Music Month

Jun 21, 2022 04:30PM ● By Diamond Jones

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If you have not already heard, here is some exciting news: June is Black Music Appreciation Month! In honor of such a celebratory time, FunTimes is sharing some of our favorite artists, genres, and historical facts.

To start our celebration of Black Music Month, here is a quick history of the origin of the month-long celebration. 

Black Music Month was started by Philadelphia's own; Kenny Gamble and ex-wife and co-founder Dyana Williams. After visiting Nashville sometime in the 1970s and observing and admiring the Country Music Association (CMA) unity and economic influence, Kenny knew he wanted to do the same within the black music industry. He knew the cultural influences, countless historical contributions made by black artists, and the economic impact of the black music industry and immediately got to work. 

 (Kenny Gamble. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons)

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In 1978 the Black Music Association (BMA) was created. Its main goal was to preserve, protect and perpetuate Black music. Kenny declared June as Black Music Month and put together a strong team of supporters and advocates that included; Leon Huff, Berry Gordy, Stevie Wonder, Rev. Jesse Jackson, and many more. 

On June 7th, 1979, less than a year after the creation of the BMA, President Jimmy Carter hosted the first Black Music Appreciation Month celebration at the white house. Attendees included Chuck Berry, Sara Jordan Powell, Billy Eckstein, Evelyn Champagne King, and Andre Crouch. During the event, President Carter stated that he believes that: “Black Music is a way to tie Black people to their ancestors and to tie the United States to other nations of the world.” 

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In 2000 President Clinton officially  Proclaimed June as Black Music Month. This was possible by the continuing work of Dyana Williams. 

(Dyana Williams, Image Source: Twitter / dyanawilliams)

Indeed, Black music has always captured the current state of our country, both good and bad. Black music has also been able to communicate policies and ideologies in ways politicians and world leaders have not been able to. And for generations, Black Music has expressed hopes and dreams for this country and what it could be if everyone just remembered to have a love of humanity as a whole.   

Black musicians have influenced almost every genre today with their innovative sounds, rhythm, storytelling, writing, singing styles, and more. The roots of African music styles run deep in genres such as: The Blues, Jazz, Rock and Roll, Pop, Hip Hop, House Music, R&B and even Classical Music. It is almost impossible to talk about American culture without mentioning Black musical contributions.

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Image by Andrea Piacquadio via Pexel

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