In 1979 Kenny Gamble, Ed Wright and Dyana Williams implemented a month-long celebration of the impact of black music. These music business insiders pioneered Black Music Month and helped to create a continuous movement of empowerment and appreciation. On June 7th, 1979 the inspirational group successfully lobbied President Jimmy Carter into hosting a reception to formally recognize the cultural and financial contributions of black music throughout history. Since that fateful year, Black Music Month has grown from an intimate commemoration to national reach with an abundance of events held annually across the country.
As years went on many musicians, fans and influential individuals joined in celebratory observance during the month of June. Today throughout the month events are held embracing the achievements, prominent timelines and impactful moments of Black music. It is a chance to remember those musicians lost along the way. It is also an encouraging pathway for young musicians to follow their dreams. As the recognition grew, political figures followed in President Carter’s footsteps by helping spread the word of Black Music Month.
US-Representative Chaka Fattah took a stand in 2000 by sponsoring House Resolution 509 which nods towards the importance of Black music and its influence on our country’s culture and the economy. With this movement more folks rallied around in the celebratorious month, and by 2009 President Barack Obama further defined June as African American Music Appreciation Month. President Obama declared that the start of summer would be a celebration for “the rich heritage” of African American music and how these instrumental musicians, “have enriched American music and captured the diversity of our Nation.”
“The music of our Nation has always spoken to the condition of our people and reflected the diversity of our Union. African-American musicians, composers, singers, and songwriters have made enormous contributions to our culture by capturing the hardships and aspirations of a community and reminding us of our shared values.”
As more and more groups come together in celebration of African American music throughout history and present day, the progressive impact on our culture becomes even stronger. African American Music Appreciation Month continues to bring together all walks of life through the love of music.
Join in commemorating the music that influences creativity, diversity, and unity.