African American Music Appreciation Month

May 26th, 2021

June has been the month of appreciation for the contributions of African-American musicians, composers, singers, and songwriters since 1979 when President Jimmy
Carter set aside the month of June for this occasion. The creation of Black Music Month was put forth by Kenny Gamble, Ed Wright, and Dyana Williams and backed up by generations of artists whose skills and talents built the foundation of musical ingenuity in America. Jazz music was able to grow from black folk music that was rooted in rich African traditions and conflicted slave trade. Artists responded to every era with new inspiration and visionary sounds from rhythm and blues to barbershop to swing. Music is a unique element that acts as a barrier breaker. Everyone can come together through music. You can observe African American Music Appreciation Month by immersing yourself in the music from many genres from classic jazz to smokey blues to funk and so on. You can also share your favorite tunes by using
#AfricanAmericanMusicAppreciationMonth and #AAMAM on social media. Below are outlined small descriptions of some of the genres for you to become more educated and aware of this topic:

  • Sacred Music: It
    portrays the central role that music plays in African American spiritual and religious life. It includes spirituals and gospel music, and it is the earliest form of black musical expression in America. This music was based on Christian psalms and hymns and merged with African music styles and secular American music forms. In its earliest manifestations, gospel music functioned as an integral religious and ceremonial practice during worship services. Now, gospel music is also marketed commercially and draws on contemporary, secular sounds while still conveying spiritual and religious ideas.
  • Folk Music: This
    genre of music goes back to African cultural tradition. It stems from field hollers, work chants, and game songs. Folk music spread in the 1960s, and it still influences hip-hop today. 
  • The Blues:
    The Blues form the foundation of contemporary American music, and they also greatly influenced the cultural and social lives of African Americans. Geographically diverse incarnations of The Blues arose in various regions, including the Mississippi Delta, Memphis, Chicago, Southern Texas, and each regional manifestation of The Blues featured a uniquely identifiable sound and message. 
  • Military Music:
    African Americans have always held a significant role in the armed services’ military band tradition. In the Revolutionary War and Civil War, African Americans served in fife and drum corps. Musicians that played in military bands during World War I and World War II often incorporated modern musical styles, such as jazz, into their song selections.
  • Jazz:
    Jazz evolved from ragtime, which is an American style of syncopated instrumental music. Jazz first materialized in New Orleans with multiple
     forms of the genre existing today, from the dance-oriented music of the 1920s big-band era to the experimental flair of modern avant-garde
    jazz.
  • Rhythm and Blues: Rhythm and Blues is a genre of music with roots in Jazz, Blues, and gospel music, and it is the predecessor of soul music. It helped spread African American culture while popularizing the idea of racial integration in white society. Today, the genre has assimilated soul and funk
    characteristics.
  • Rock and Roll:
    Rock and Roll was born in the 1950s and appealed to the rebellious yearnings of American youth culture. It incorporates elements from all African American music genres and combines them with American pop and country music components.

Hip-Hop and Rap:
Hip-Hop and Rap are musical traditions firmly embedded in African American culture. Hip-hop music spawned an entire cultural form by becoming a global phenomenon and exerting a driving force on the development of mass media, meanwhile, rap remains a means for artists to voice opinions and share experiences regarding social and political issues.