History of Black Music Month

In 2000, more than two decades after Black Music Month was first observed, music producer and radio host Dyana Williams spearheaded the effort to make it an official national celebration.

In 2000, more than two decades after Black Music Month was first observed, music producer and radio host Dyana Williams spearheaded the effort to make it an official national celebration.

Black Music Month is here. Some don’t know it, but June was officially declared Black Music Month by our 39th president, Jimmy Carter, back in 1979. Black Music Month began in 1979 when Kenny Gamble, Ed Wright, and Dyana Williams developed the idea to set aside a month dedicated to celebrating the impact of Black music. Created by music business insiders, the group successfully lobbied President Carter to host a reception on June 7, 1979 to formally recognize the cultural and financial contributions of Black music. Since 1979, Black Music Month has grown from a small commemoration to national proportions with events held annually across the country.

In 2000, U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah sponsored House Resolution 509, which formally recognized the importance of Black music on culture and the economy during President Bill Clinton’s administration. In 2009, President Barack Obama further defined June as African American Music Appreciation Month declaring the start of summer as a celebration for all the Black “musicians, composers, singers, and songwriters [who] have made enormous contributions to our culture.”

For the years that he has been in office, President Obama has christened the start of each Black Music Month with a proclamation in celebration of what his administration deems, ‘African American Music Appreciation Month.’ But whatever we want to call it, the month of June is a special time to focus on the history of the African American community that is embodied in our rich musical legacy.
This month is dedicated to encouraging people world-wide to pay homage to the musical contributions of African Americans to culture and society internationally.

Since the inception of Black Music Month, many venues, events, and establishments have come into being to help the world celebrate black music traditions. This June, we want everyone to join in on the commemoration, so we’ve compiled a list of some of the top music-themed destinations by region. No matter where you are in America, you can celebrate Black Music Month to the hilt.