Did you know that June is African-American Music Appreciation Month? Kenny Gamble and Ed Wright, founders of the Black Music Association, developed the idea in 1979 as a way to celebrate the significance and contributions of African-Americans in music. They successfully lobbied President Jimmy Carter to formally recognize the month, and in 2009, the designation was changed to African-American Music Appreciation Month.
In a 2016 proclamation, President Barack Obama said “African-American music exemplifies the creative spirit…and is among the most innovative and powerful art the world has ever known…Songs by African American musicians span the breadth of human experience and resonate in every corner…animating our bodies, stimulating our imaginations and nourishing our souls…” This June, explore our catalog and learn more about the ways that African-Americans have influenced the music industry and shaped pop culture. Here are just a few examples of what you’ll find.