Statement in Celebration of African-American Music Appreciation Month
This and every June, we pay tribute to the immeasurable contributions Black Americans have made and continue to make to American music. Let us recognize the indelible legacy that Black artists and performers have left on audiences around the world, giving rise to several forms of global popular culture that have stayed with us today.
The soul of music has represented the pulse of American culture and has served as the soundtrack of our most pressing issues of the day. Motivating and melodic music that has been created by Black musical icons has affected the lives of millions of people who oftentimes infused human values of resistance, love, celebration and unity. Their art, while often personal and heartfelt, elevates the spirit and gives hope to all people.
We celebrate the contributions of musicians who gifted us with sounds that forever shaped American culture and resonates with several generations. From Curtis Mayfield who filled us with courage with “People Get Ready,” from Teddy Pendergrass who lifted our spirits with “Wake Up Everybody,” from Nina Simone who sang about the realities of the Black South in “Strange Fruit,” to Public Enemy who encouraged us to “Fight the Power,” we celebrate continual Black excellence through music.
We take this month to honor those who blazed the trail for every genre of American music, including blues, funk, jazz, rock and roll, country, Hip-Hop, soul, and R&B. Their music, an expression of the black experience, reflects the perseverance of the souls of Black Americans; who find joy in spite of the injustices we continue to endure.
This African-American Music Appreciation Month, let us commemorate the contributions that Black musical icons have made on our culture and give thanks by honoring their art and working towards the preservation, study and celebration of innovative music that has transcended generations and has appealed to the hearts and spirits of all humankind.
Assembly Member Michael Blake