Black music coincides with the story of America. Genres such as blues, jazz, gospel, country, rock, R&B, and rap, all created by Black musicians, have inspired the world.
To honor the contributions of Black musicians, President Jimmy Carter declared June to be Black Music Month in 1979. After journalist Dyana Williams lobbied for Black Music Month to be recognized by the U.S. government, President Bill Clinton signed a proclamation in 2000.
There are multiple ways to celebrate and honor the Black musicians of the past, present, and future.
Discover Black Music From Different Genres
Black music is not monolithic. Although Black musicians dominate genres such as hip-hop, R&B, jazz, soul, and gospel, there are numerous Black artists who have found success in genres such country music, rock, and classical. Throughout the month, discover and listen to Black artists from different genres. A few to search include artists such as Robert McFerrin, the first Black person to sing lead at the Met Opera; country music star Allison Russell; and Black rock star Jackie Venson.
Watch Black Music Documentaries
Documentaries are great ways to learn more about the history of Black music. There are several great Black music documentaries to watch such as the Oscar-winning “Summer of Soul”; FX’s “Dear Mama,”; Quincy,” and “Devil At The Crossroads.” Podcasts are another medium that you can use to discover great Black music stories.
Read Books On Black Music
There are dozens of great books that highlight the stories of Black music culture. A few great reads include, “The Power of Black Music”; “Black Noise”; “Music Is History”; and “Trap History” written by yours truly. Music books can help readers understand how impactful Black music is to American life.
Discover And Support New Artists
We live in an era where music is often considered to be free. Find a new artist, and, if possible, purchase an item to support. That can include an album, merchandise, or concert ticket. You can also support local music camps, schools and organizations that train young musicians.
Visit Music Museums or Attend a Show
Music is best when experienced live. Learn about the history of music by visiting museums such as the National Museum of African American Music In Nashville; the Trap Music Museum in Atlanta; Delta Music Museum in Clarksdale, Mississippi; New Orleans Jazz Museum; and Universal Hip-Hop Museum in New York. You can also experience a concert or show in your local area to celebrate the month.