There's a lot of stuff that goes down in June, from the official start of summer to the birthdays of Geminis and Cancers, but one important event that you may not be aware of is the observation of African-American Music Appreciation Month.
First declared in 1979 by President Jimmy Carter, Black Music Month is a thing because of the work songwriter Kenny Gamble and Dyana Williams. It was made an official national observance by President Clinton in 2000 with the signing of the African American Music Bill, and has remained a tradition through to the current Trump administration.
As the name suggests, the month is a time to show appreciation for all of the talented Black performers, composers, writers, and collaborators who have contributed to the diverse culture of American music. From blues and jazz to funk and hip hop, pioneers in all genres are recognized for their talents, which have influenced every aspect of our lives in one way or another.
It's not crazy to say that without Black culture, there would be no American culture, and during Black Music Month, it's important to listen to and appreciate the Chuck Berrys, Big Mama Thorntons, and Ray Charles of the world. Don't forget to also acknowledge contemporary acts like Migos and Kendrick Lamar are just as much a part of the landscape.
To help you celebrate for all of June, here is a playlist of 20 songs (in no particular order) that span the past 100 years of beautiful Black music.