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Take some time to show appreciation respect for those amazingly talented composers, singers, songwriters and musicians of all kinds who have African American roots. It’s time to celebrate and get inspired by African American Music Appreciation Month! 

History of African American Music Appreciation Month

Linking back to cultural traditions from Africa, African-American music encompasses a variety of styles and genres, including jazz, blues, soul, hip hop, rhythm and blues (R&B), funk, gospel music, spirituals and much more.

This event has roots that can be traced back to 1979 when US President Jimmy Carter declared June to be Black Music Month. The purpose of the event was to set aside this time for the intentional experience of and education about music that has been influenced by black people in America. Even though it was first declared by Carter, it took twenty more years for this event to become officially recognized. It was proclaimed by US President Bill Clinton in 2000, after lobbying by activist and journalist Dayna Williams.

In 2009, under the leadership of the first black American president, Barack Obama, the event got a name change to become African American Music Appreciation Month. In a public address a few years later, Obama noted that African American music had offered opportunities for people to express their faith in song, march against injustice, dance, and defend freedoms.

How to Celebrate African American Music Appreciation Month

Get on board and have loads of fun by celebrating African American Music Appreciation Month! Consider some of these ideas to get the celebration started:

Listen to African American Music

An excellent way that literally anyone can get involved with African American Music Appreciation Month would be to line up some genres of music that fit the bill and put them on repeat throughout the month. With thousands of different talented African American musicians and artists having made recordings, there will be no shortage of options to listen to for all thirty days.

Find some African American music online, create a fresh playlist of favorite modern or classic black musicians, or head on over to a record store for some excellent-sounding music on vinyl. Even better, support some local African American musicians by booking tickets to a concert or joining in to hear some live jazz or blues at a local club.

Learn More About African American Music History

Parents and teachers, as well as anyone who wants to learn, can get on board with African American Music Appreciation Month by tailoring some lessons around the history of this important musical influence. Many resources can be found online, with many included in this list accessible through the Library of Congress website

Play or Sing African American Music

So many different genres of music have themes that come from black and African American influences. This month is a great time for vocalists or those who play musical instruments to practice and play some of their favorite pieces by African American songwriters and composers, from Sammy Davis, Jr. to Ella Fitzgerald, from Duke Ellington to Florence Price.

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