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African-American Music Appreciation Month

Jun 08, 2012

President Barack Obama has declared June African-American Music Appreciation Month in order to celebrate the rich musical traditional of African Americans in U.S. culture. Find out more about African-American Music Appreciation Month!


Originally this holiday was called Black Music Month, and was created by President Jimmy Carter on June 7th 1979, more recently President Barack Obama has updated the holiday by renaming it African-American Music Month in 2009 with this touching statement:

"As a long piece of American culture, music offers a vibrant soundtrack to the story of our people and our Union. At times, when words alone could not bring us together, we have found in melodies and choruses the universal truths of our shared humanity. African-American musicians have left an indelible mark on this tradition, and during African-American Music Appreciation Month, we can pay special tribute to their extra-ordinary contributions".

African-American Music Fun Facts!

  • In 2006 Singer-songwriter/actress Whitney Houston was named the most awarded female of all time by the Guiness World Book of Records
  • Michael Jackson, the ultimate entertainer, was nominated for 12 Grammy Awards in 1984 and won a record-breaking eight. He also a double-inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and still holds the record for most Top 10 singles off an album for Thriller and most number one singles for Bad.
  • King of soul James Brown performed in Boston in a live televised event the day after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, many people think he prevented riots with his performance.
  • Music composer/producer Quincy Jones has the most Grammy-nominated artist in the history of the awards with 76 nominations and 26 wins!
  • Chuck Berrt’s famous “duck walk” came about during a performance in 1956 where he was trying to hide the wrinkles in his suit by shaking his body out.
  • Beyonce Knowles walked away with 6 Grammy Awards in 2010, the most wins for a female in one night in the history of the event.
  • Singer-songwriter Nat King Cole was the first African-American to host a National TV show, The Nat King Cole Show in 1956.
  • Soul singer Aretha Franklin was the first woman to be inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
  • Musician and Activist Harry Belafonte came up with the idea for “We Are the World”, a hit single to help raise money to relieve famine in Africa. It pulled in over $20 million dollars.

What Can I Do?

If you want to get involved with African-American Music History Month try learning as much as possible (and the best part, listening to as much great music as possible!) Try getting your friends, teachers and classmates involved. The history of 20th century America and beyond is tightly interwoven with its musical tradition. This is a learning and listening adventure that can be fun and educational for everyone, so why not kick off your summer with some classic tunes!

Check out Marvin Gaye's Motown classic "What's Goin' On" below!            


Have Your Say

Who is your favorite African American artist? Let us know in the comments section below!




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