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Robins AFB Library: African-American Music Appreciation Month

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15 Essential Songs you Must Listen to for African-American Music Appreciation Month (PBS)

1) “Hello Dolly” by Louis Armstrong

2) “I Got You (I Feel Good)” by James Brown

3) “I Got A Woman” by Ray Charles

4) “The Christmas Song” by Nat King Cole

5) “You Send Me” by Sam Cooke

6) “The Fat Man” by Fats Domino

7) “Dream a Little Dream of Me” by Ella Fitzgerald

8) “Respect” by Aretha Franklin

9) “Hey Joe” by Jimi Hendrix

10) “Strange Fruit” by Billie Holiday

11) “How Blue Can You Get?” by B.B. King

12) “Strange Things Happen Every Day” by Sister Rosetta Tharpe

13) “Tenderly” by Sarah Vaughan

14) “Mannish Boy” by Muddy Waters

15) “What’s Going on?” by Marvin Gaye


About African American Music Appreciation Month

The United States has been celebrating African-American Music Appreciation Month in June since 1979. The month of June is set aside to appreciate the contributions of African-American musicians, composers, singers, and songwriters in American culture. The month honors the history and rich African traditions that gave birth to different styles of music such as rap, hip-hop, jazz, rhythm and blues, barbershop, and swing. It is also the month to celebrate creative inspiration and appreciate the impact that African-American music has had on generations of performers and music lovers! From tales of slavery and racism and fighting for their basic human rights to finding their heritage and values in their lyrics, Black music covers a vast range of topics that have great significance for this community. Over the years, we have seen Black musicians reach great heights, not only on official music record charts but also at entertainment award ceremonies. While President Jimmy Carter designated June as Black Music Month in 1979, it wasn’t until 2000 when the presidential proclamation for the month was signed. President Barack Obama, in 2009, went on to rename the month from Black Music Month to its current name, African-American Music Appreciation Month. (Source)

Highlighted Genres

  • Gospel: "Gospel music originated in the black church 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 services. Now, gospel music is also marketed commercially and draws on contemporary, secular sounds while still conveying spiritual and religious ideas."
  • 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, Southern Texas. Each regional manifestation of the blues features a uniquely identifiable sound and message."
  • Jazz: "Jazz 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 1920s big-band era to the experimental flair of modern avant-garde jazz."


NPR Music Celebrates Black Music Month

This year, NPR Music is celebrating Black Music Month with an array of brand new Tiny Desk concerts — both from home and from behind our beloved Desk. Together, these artists represent the past, present and future of Black music. This month of carefully curated shows is a celebration of Black artists expressing themselves in ways we've never seen before, and of the Tiny Desk's unique way of showcasing that talent. (Source)

Highlighted Artists

Marian Anderson becomes the first Black singer to perform at the New York Metropolitan Opera. (Source)

Stevie Wonder becomes the first Black artist to win the Grammy Award for Album of the Year. (Source)

Michael Jackson releases “Thriller” and the album sells 66 million copies worldwide. (Source)

Childish Gambino’s ‘This is America’, lauded for the way it represents African-American realities, becomes the first rap song to win Song/Record of the Year at the Grammy Awards. (Source)


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