Black Track: June 2023

African American Music Appreciation Month

June Black music month

Anytime there is a specified appreciation for the people of the African diaspora, I tune in. For far too long, those of African descent were ignored for their contributions throughout society. June is African American Music Appreciation month, so we, The New Mexico Office of African American Affairs, want to make sure the community is aware of the celebration’s origins and highlight local artists participating in all the wonder Juneteenth events.

In 1979, Present Jimmy Carter christened June Black music month. This action came after some solidarity among the Black musical artist. (1) In 1970, Kenny Gamble, a soul producer, decided after seeing the County Music Association’s recognition every October, that, the Black music community should also receive acknowledgment. With support from Stevie Wonder, Motown Records, and Rev. Jesse Jackson, they conceptualized the Black Music Association in 1978. (1)

The support was so rapid that The Godfather of Black Music, Clarence Avant, just a year later, helped influence the highest recognition. President Carter hosted the first-ever Black Music Month celebration on the White House lawn. Mr. Gamble said that “Initially, Black Music Month started as an economic program more than anything else.” (2) The performers included Chuck Berry and many more. In the late ’90s, it was discovered that President Carter never made the month as an official decree. (2) Dyana Williams, who made the discovery that there was no official decree, worked with her local congresswoman to draft House Resolution 509, better known as The African-American Music Bill. In 2000, then, President Bill Clinton signed the bill and made Black History Month official. As the years continued, our first Black President updated the month as African American Music Appreciation Month in 2009. (1) On May 31, 2023, President Joseph R. Biden called upon the public officials, educators, and all the United States to observe June by honoring Black musicians and raising awareness and appreciation of Black music. (3) OAAA agrees with the notion.

While researching African American Music Appreciation Month, we discovered the National Endowment for the Arts. The resources associated with the endowment provide an economical program, like how Kenny Gamble intended. The National Endowment for the Arts is an independent federal agency that funds, promotes, and strengthens the creative capacity of our communities by providing Americans with diverse opportunities for arts participation. (4) Many local artists are performing at events throughout New Mexico for the Juneteenth celebrations, show them some love.

Some of the artists performing are as follows:

Khalisol, Geoffrodamus, Mark the Dark, T-Streetz, Dremon, Rahhney Bingo, Chevonne, Nene Baby, Retro Swank, LP Gutta, Kid Official, The Baylor Project, DJ Malcom X, Terra Watts, Explosive Dance, DR Muazadody, Avery Martini, Dyonne Dahl, Trey Pickett, Black Line Dancers, Cameroomnians of NM drums, Ark, Mike Baty, Clars, Healinth Waters Ministry, Diana Bethany, NM Mass choir, ABQ Fellowship choir, DJ Mauly Mall, Stephania Johnson, Russell White, Jean Hodge, Sister Nancy and so much more.

Bam Bam !! On Sunday, June 18th, 2023, the legend and pioneer of dancehall Sister Nancy is the headline performer at Santa Fe’s Juneteenth Celebration. Put some respect on her name! Sister Nancy was the first female DJ to perform at Reggae Sunsplash (using the term “DJ” in the Jamaican sense is another way of saying “MC”).[1] Sister Nancy was the first woman DJ to leave Jamaica and the first woman DJ to take it internationally, trailblazing the Dance Hall genre.[1] In the 35 years of Sister Nancy’s remarkable musical journey, her biggest single, “Bam Bam,” has been sampled over 137 times, including in songs by Jay Z, Kanye West, and Lauren Hill, to name a few.[2] I would also encourage you to check out her catalog, including the songs “One Two” and “Transport Connection.”This will be a historical performance. Have fun and a great Juneteenth Weekend!