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What Is African American Music Month?

What Is African American Music Month?
June 2, 2021

June marks African American Music Month, also known as Black Music Month, in the United States — a month-long celebration of the iconic and quintessential sounds and expressions Black artists have brought to American culture. At Sofar, we’re excited to celebrate this month by learning more about Black music’s deep history and highlighting the many talented and unique Black artists in our community.

How it started

The heritage month, originally known as Black Music Month, was started in 1979 by President Jimmy Carter with the influence and hard work of Kenny Gamble, Ed Wright, and Dyana Williams. It was later commemorated with its current name by President Barack Obama, who proclaimed it a month "to dance, to express our faith through song, to march against injustice, and to defend our country's enduring promise of freedom and opportunity for all.”

How to celebrate

Immerse yourself in the work and history of Black artists past and present! American music is influenced completely by Black artists who have shaped and led the progression of the music we enjoy today. Sacred music, folk, jazz, blues, rock n roll, hip-hop, rap — the list of genres molded by the voices and talents of Black artists is endless. Read up on the history of American music’s Black roots to learn about the Black musicians who created some of rock n roll’s biggest hits, about the structural inequality that still affects Black artists today, and about the endless genres that have grown and evolved with Black talent. 

How to help

Outside of continuing our individual learning on Black music and the inequalities that still plague the music industry, a great way to honor African American Music Month is to donate to organizations like Black Music Action Coalition, Black Art Futures Fund, and the Black American Music Association.

Celebrate African American Music all month long with upcoming artist interviews, performance roundups, and more. Find celebratory performances from independent artists coming to the listening room in the week of June 14-18.