Blackipedia is a bi-weekly CASSIUS feature that takes a fun approach to exploring Black history, slang, and culture. In June (#BlackMusicMonth), we’re honoring Black and brown mental health pioneers. Get ready to learn something—and tell a friend!
Black Music Month
[blak myoo-zik muhnth]
Black Music Month was created by President Jimmy Carter in 1979. Formerly called National Black Music Month, it was established to celebrate African-American music’s influence throughout our nation’s history and is reestablished each year by presidential proclamation. June 7 is the annual anniversary of its first celebration.
“The idea was initially sparked following President Richard Nixon’s declaration of October as Country Music Month back in 1972,” Newsweek explains. “Although Black Music Month was effective in driving sales of music created by African-Americans—the month-long celebration was first launched with the slogan, ‘Black Music is Green’ — the charge of artists (including Berry) and music mavens that petitioned Carter to proclaim the holiday celebrating black music brought forth an uplifting and unifying moment for people from all backgrounds.”
In 1978, a group of Black executives came together to form the Black Music Association (BMA), “not just to celebrate black music’s contributions, but as part of a larger effort to mobilize Black economic power, and for us to have more control over our own business,” VIBE explains. But the BMA ultimately dissolved in the mid-’80s due to a lack of “respect and unity,” as artist development/media strategist and Black Music Month co-founder Dyana Williams told Billboard in 2015. “That plus dissension about the organization’s direction ultimately led to its demise,” Williams added. “There’s still the need for an organization that galvanizes all the styles of Black music and also advocates the advancement of Black music overall for this and future generations.”
To Learn More:
Why Black Music Month Still Matters (Billboard)