Let’s set the record straight once and for all: every month is “Black music month”. African Americans’ contributions to arts and culture on a global scale are undeniable, and nowhere more evident than in the music that makes up the soundtracks of our lives. From Negro spirituals and field hollers, to folk and the blues and gospel and jazz, to R&B, soul, rock, hip-hop, and all points in between, Black musicians, singers, songwriters, producers, composers, and performers of decades past have left their mark and continue to influence artists and audiences alike. Today’s current artists range from independent innovators to underground heroes, to crossover hit-makers with mass market appeal, but no matter where they fall on the spectrum one fact remains: Black artists consistently set the tone and the trends for what audiences crave.
Still, since President Jimmy Carter designated June as Black Music Month in 1979, we have taken time to spotlight artists past and present whose works have shaped us both personally and collectively, and for good reason. Regardless as to one’s musical tastes and preferences, few–if any–of us can go a day without music. We start our days tuned in to our favorite local or national radio programs, or pop in that new CD for the ride in to the office. We plug our headphones into our laptops or iPods so we can rock out in private while sitting at our desks, and share what we’re listening to via social media. The bass from the car next to us punctuates the tune emanating from the speakers inside our vehicle, while the kid waiting at the bus stop loses himself in the beats and rhymes pulsating through his eardrums. So why not celebrate the musical and cultural contributions of African American artists during Black Music Month? What better time of year to observe the myriad ways in which Black musicians across the globe continue to blaze trails and innovate as both artists and entrepreneurs, than during the summer time–ripe with new releases, live music festivals, and social gatherings where good sounds are a must?
SoulTrain.com invites you to share with us your thoughts about Black Music Month. Who are your favorite artists? What new music are you most excited to hear this summer? Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter! Throughout the month of June we’ll offer special Black Music Month features, so be sure to visit us each week to see what’s new!
Rhonda Nicole is an independent singer/songwriter from Dallas, TX, based in the Bay Area. Download her EP “Nuda Veritas” on CDBaby and iTunes, and follow her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/rhondanicolemusic and on Twitter @wildhoneyrock.