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Issue 17 Out Now

Celebrating the Influential Black Artists of Today’s Time

Photograph from Harlem World Magazine.

June is a month for celebrating the fabulous members of the LGBTQ community, the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in the US, and the talented artists that made Black music what it is today.

Since 1979, June has been designated as Black Music Month. In 1979,President Jimmy Carter declared June as Black Music Month, however it did not become popular until ten years ago. In June of last year, Donald Trump officially proclaimed June as African American Music Appreciation Month. The statement read, “Now, Therefore, I, Donald J. Trump, President of the United States of America, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2020 as African-American Music Appreciation Month. I call upon public officials, educators, and all the people of the United States to observe this month with appropriate activities and programs that raise awareness and appreciation of African-American music.”

Black Music Month is a time to celebrate the influential artists who have made an imprint on African American music and music around the world. African American music is soulful R&B, rhythm and blues, jazz, gospel, rap, and so much more.

Angel Bat Dawid, a Chicago composer, and clarinetist said in an interview with Pitchfork, “I am a Black person, so if I play music, it’s going to be Black music,” said Dawid. “If a Black person plays punk, rock, reggae, classical, experimental, avant-garde… guess what? It’s gonna be Black music.”

Black music is revolutionary. Artists like Aretha Franklin, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Wonder, Billie Holiday, The Supremes, and so many have paved the way we listen to music today.

President Biden said in a proclamation on Black Music Appreciation Month, “Black music has always stood on its own — a beacon of resilience and resistance — while at the same time helping to shape countless other musical and cultural traditions. The distinct voices and instruments of Black artists have filled the halls of the Apollo Theater in New York City, Preservation Hall in New Orleans, the Fillmore in San Francisco, and other iconic venues throughout the United States and around the world energizing audiences and inspiring millions. The music created and expressed by Black communities has paved the way for generations of musicians across all races, creeds, colors, religions, sexual orientations, and identities. The creativity and spirit of Black music are everywhere, and our Nation and the world are richer for it.”

We celebrate black music for its ability to bring together people of all races together, no matter their skin color. African American singers and songwriters have produced songs that can make people go through a series of expressing a whirlwind of emotions.

Platforms such as Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, Amazon, Soundcloud, and YouTube have taken the initiative to curate and promote playlists highlighting Black artists for June.

One of the featured playlists is Liberated x Music For the Movement, Vol. 3. The EP features Yara Shahidi, Cordae & Common, Chlöe, Lucky Daye, and Kamasi Washington.

Design by Karabo a South African illustrator.

Liberated is a part of a four-part series with The Undefeated, ESPN’s content initiates focusing on sports, race, culture, and Hollywood Records.

Liberated explores Black authenticity and the notion of being unapologetically Black. “Volume III shifts its focus away from the long-suffered trauma to revel in the strengths that make the Black community unique, original, and extraordinarily resilient. The project is a celebration of Black art, style, beauty, creativity, and success as a culture and a people,” according to Hollywood Records.

“Black Music is peace, a sense of being and expression,” said Kenne LaChelle, a Detroit Native. “I often ask myself what is there not to love about Black Music. Through so many songs, I can hear the pain through the artists’ voice, or the joy they felt while recording the song,” LaChelle added.

“Before this year, I didn’t know about Black Music Appreciation Month. It is not talking about it enough; I am hoping with all the recognition it has been getting, all Americans especially members of the Black Community will learn about this spectacular month dedicated to Black Music. There’s nothing like waking up on a Saturday morning to my mom blasting Anita Baker on the speaker, that alone is pure joy.”

Black Music is a staple of today’s music industry, that will continue to shape the music industry for generations to come.


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