June marks the month-long celebration of African-American Music Appreciation Month, which focuses on the musical contributions of African-Americans. The month was initially started in 1979 as Black Music Month, and has since put its focus on primarily on artist that hail from the United States.
On June 7, 1979, President Jimmy Carter signed the first proclamation deeming June as Black History Month. Presidential proclamations have and can be changed, and was done so in 2009 when President Barack Obama renamed the celebration as African-American Music Appreciation Month.
In President Obama’s May 31, 2016 proclamation, the former world leader narrowed the focus of the celebration on artists from the states and how vital their contributions have been to the entire world.
“A vital part of our Nation’s proud heritage, African-American music exemplifies the creative spirit at the heart of American identity and is among the most innovative and powerful art the world has ever known,” President Obama wrote.
He continued with, “It accompanies us in our daily lives, and it has rung out at turning points in our history and demonstrated how our achievements as a culture go hand-in-hand with our progress as a Nation. During African-American Music Appreciation Month, we honor the artists who, through this music, bring us together, show us a true reflection of ourselves, and inspire us to reach for the harmony that lies beyond our toughest struggles.”