Lift Every Voice In Black Music Month

Elle Varner

Jazz, Gospel, Scat, Blues, Rap, New Jack Swing, Soul, Rhythm and Blues, Soul, Neo Soul, and Rock N Roll are different music genres created by African Americans.  Each genre has shaped both the African American experience and American culture. The foundation of each of these genres emerged from the Middle Passage. In the midst of severe trauma Africans established mediums for communication and creative expression. Scholar Paul Gilroy suggests that "Black Music" is one of our jewels from bondage.

Kenny Gamble
Dyana Williams

When was "Black Music Month" established? In 1979 President Jimmy Carter, with the encouragement of legendary song-writer-producer Kenny Gamble. Since the inception of "Black Music Month" Kenny Gamble's ex-wife Dyana Williams the protégée' of prominent music industry pioneer Frankie Crocker.  Dyana Williams discovered that a presidential proclamation had never been signed, meaning that the celebration was not an official document. She decided to establish the foundation for the passing of an African American Music Bill. This bill would allow "Black Music Month" to be recognized with national observance.

Nina Simone

How did the bill get approved? Dyana Williams suggested that her ex-husband Kenny Gamble said he wanted a month similar to Black History Month. Kenny Gamble suggested that this month in particular would be dedicated to the contributions of black music from the past, present, and future. Following the demise of the Black Music Month Association Dyana Williams and Ed Wright contacted President Bill Clinton. They asked him if he could hold a reception similar to what Jimmy Carter did in 1979, where he declared June as Black Music Month.

Tupac and Treach ( Naughty by Nature)

Dyana contacted many politicians emphasizing the importance of Black Music Month. She argued that African American contribution per music in the industry and outside the wrapped-up value of it was billions of dollars. Another argument she made was that black music has been one of the greatest exports around the world. Black music is indigenous American culture. She was able to obtain bilateral support with Democrat Chaka Fattah (Philadelphia) and Republican Pennsylvania  Senator Arlen Specter. Arlen Specter agreed to sign letters and he contacted other senators. While Congressman Chaka Fattah agreed to introduce legislation. Congress  passed the bill to recognize June as Black Music Month approximately 15 years ago (2000).

John Coltrane

"Black Music Month Co- Founder Dyana Williams Remembers The Creation of the National Commemoration" Brennan Williams

Toni's Thoughts: I love music. I love black music. I really enjoy celebrating Black Music Month. I will be dedicating post to many pioneers and contemporary artists that truly posses talent. I am posting a link below with a nice slow jam entitled "Naturally Mine" by 80's & 90's crooner Al B. Sure


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