Throughout each year African American culture is praised and celebrated in many forms. Specifically, June is dedicated to recognize the foundation and impact African Americans have contributed to music in the past and present. African American Music Appreciation month was initiated by President Jimmy Carter in 1979. This celebration includes all the contributions of different genres African Americans have created or inspired. There isn’t one genre that Black people are limited to, there are famous musicians in jazz, hip-hop, rhythm and blues, rap, rock and roll, and gospel. It is essential that this recognition doesn’t go unnoticed.
African Americans have been making music since the beginning of time. The earliest forms of black music were known as spirituals. These spirituals are based on christianity and defined the hardships of slavery. Spirituals are closely associated with gospel music being that both exclusively contain the concept of faith. Kirk Franklin’s classic hit, “Revolution” is an all-time favorite amongst many HBCUs. This song can be recognized as an anthem of HBCUs and black culture. Today a gospel artist, Koryn Hawthrone, reaches out to the younger audience with her hit single, “Won’t He Do It” released in 2018. Black musicians continue to inspire and elevate music in new ways.
That’s not the only anthem amongst HBCUs. While attending at least one party, function, or event the song “This is How We Do It” by Montell Jordan will always be played. By knowing the words to this song is like knowing the words to a child’s lullaby, “Twinkle Little Star”. Hip- hop music has led the way for many artists to voice their opinions on society and even current political issues. New artists like H.E.R and YBN Cordae collabed together on, “Lord Is Coming”, addressing depression and greed in America. Hip-hop music has broken barriers and is promoting the development of mass media.
New artists have paved the way for inspiring new music in younger audiences and also in already established artists. Chloe x Halle, mentees of Beyonce, have created a whole realm for their creative sound in music. The release of the new album, Ungodly Hour, has emphasized their push of a more relatable sound. Their song on the album, “Do It”, exceptionally broadcasted that they are young women and ready for a mature sound. Having a relatable sound is essential when attempting to reach a target audience. Arose from the underground, Brent Faiyaz and his soulful and stimulating voice. Brent Faiyaz is originally a part of a group called Sonder, but also pursues a solo career. In his solo album, F*** The Word, Faiyaz guides his audiences in all his luxuries and endeavours. Specially, his song “F*** The World (Summer in London), details his explicit opinions on the world and honest lifestyle. It’s safe to say new artists are bringing a new taste of music.
Of course, there are hundreds of new black artists to name and acknowledge, such as Kaytranada, Smino, 6lack, SiR, Megan The Stallion, Dababy, and many others. African American Music Appreciation month is to honor those musicians in the past and in the present. We can appreciate how much older music is still played today and seen in new music’s inspiration. That being said, listen to a black artist you may have heard of, but never got a chance to actually enjoy their music.
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Mya White is a contributing writer for Snubb3d Magazine. She was born and raised in Columbia, South Carolina and she is currently majoring in Journalism at Savannah State University.