June 22, 2022

African American Music Appreciation Month is an annual celebration of African American Music in the United States. It was initiated as Black Music Month by President Jimmy Carter who, on June 7th 1979, decreed that June would be the month of Black Music.

In 2009, the commemoration was given its current name by President Barack Obama. In a 2016 proclamation, Obama noted that African-American musicians have helped the country “to dance, to express our faith through song, to march against injustice, and to defend our country's enduring promises of freedom and opportunities for all". 
Music History 

Sacred Music
Includes spiritual and gospel music, illustrates the central role that music plays in African American spiritual and religious life. The earliest form of black musical expression in America, spirituals were based on Christian Psalms and hymns and merged with African music styles and secular American music forms. Spirituals were originally an oral tradition and imparted Christian values while also defining the hardship of Slavery. Gospel music originated in the black churches and has become a globally recognized genre of popular music. In its earliest manifestations, gospel music functioned as an integral religious and ceremonial practice during worship and draws on contemporary, secular sounds while still conveying spiritual and religious ideas. 

Folk Music
African American folk music links back to African cultural traditions. Stemming from field hollers, work chants and game songs, folk music is bursting with social expression that is still found within Hip-Hop today.  
The Blues
The Blues form the foundation of contemporary American music. As did sacred and folk music, the blues 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, and Southern Texas. Each regional manifestation of the blues features a uniquely identifiable sound and message. For example, Mississippi Delta blues illustrated the poverty of the region while celebrating its natural and cultural richness. https://youtu.be/4rpK0lrUr4M

Military Music 
Beginning with the Revolutionary war, African Americans have always held a significant role in the armed service military band tradition. In the Revolutionary War and Civil War, African Americans served in the fife and drum corps. Musicians who played in military bands during World War I and World War II often incorporated modern musical styles such as Jazz into their song selections. They also toured The United States and Europe, entertaining civilian and military audiences alike.

Evolved from ragtime, an American style of syncopated instrumental music. Jazz first materialized in New Orleans and is often distinguished by African American musical innovation. Multiple forms of the genre exist today, from the dance-oriented music of the 1920’s big-band era to the experimental flair of modern avant-garde Jazz. 
Rhythm and Blues
The predecessor to soul music, R&B is another stylistically-diverse genre with roots in Jazz, the blues and gospel music. R&B helped spread African American culture and popularized the idea of racial integration on the airwaves and in white society. Today’s iteration of the genre has assimilated soul and funk characteristics.
Rock and Roll
This music incorporates elements from all African American music genres and combines them with American pop and country music components. The genre was born in the 1950’s and appealed to the rebellious yearnings of American youth culture. 
Hip-Hop and Rap
Musical traditions are firmly embedded in African American culture. Like Jazz, Hip-Hop has become a global phenomenon and has exerted a driving force on the development of the mass media. Hip-Hop music spawned an entire cultural form, while Rap remains a means for artists to voice opinions and share experiences regarding social and political issues.     
This list of musical styles merely scratches the surface. In addition to the genres previously detailed, African American musicians and artists have also developed and influenced classical music traditions, country and western music, and pop, among other genres and styles. Millions of people enjoy elements of African American music traditions.

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