Whitney McGowan wrote, “President Jimmy Carter decreed that June would be the month of black music on June 7, 1979. In 2009, the commemoration was given the name African-American Music Appreciation Month by President Barack Obama.”
On May 31, 2019, the 45th President Donald Trump followed his predecessors and signed the proclamation honoring June as African-American Music Appreciation Month.
In short, it states:
Throughout American history, African-American music has reflected our Nation’s challenges and triumphs and has always enriched our Nation’s culture. During African-American Music Appreciation Month, we pay tribute to the talented and inspiring African-American artists who have given sound and voice to the full range of human emotions through the blues, jazz, gospel, rock and roll, rap, hip hop, and other genres.
It goes on, giving honors to the late Aretha Franklin and the works she has created for us all, young and old, to enjoy for years to come. She’s definitely not alone as black music is rich, like a well that never runs dry.
It continues by saying:
This month [June], we celebrate the countless contributions of African-American singers, composers, and musicians, who have influenced and shaped every genre and style of music. They have turned universally shared emotions and experiences of suffering, joy, passion, pain, faith, injustice, and love into art that speaks to the heart and spirit of any American. African-American music has the power to encourage, inspire, and affect social change. It transcends time, compelling generation after generation to sing, dance, think, and feel, and it endures in our culture, our history, our spirit, and our collective national soul.
These words rang true beyond comprehension. I think we have much to be proud of because those in the past, and present, have had an influence across the world like no other. With Shun’s Lab, I try to highlight and promote black music and mainly because the recognition is necessary, but also we must not forget our music has a purpose and glorified position in American society. It’s power in understanding this because it shows what greatness we’re capable of, and with our music, we can work wonders. We always have!
To read the full proclamation, visit here.
Check out the Spotify playlist by PBS American Masters
Playlist · 16 Songs – “Here are 15 songs from American Masters you must listen to, to celebrate African-American Music.” – Whitney McGowan, PBS Available with an Apple Music subscription. Try it free.