From jazz to blues to hip hop, black music has touched, inspired and shaped the culture of millions around the 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,” he wrote in a statement issued on May 31. “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.”
Declared in 1979 by President Jimmy Carter -- with the encouragement of legendary songwriter-producer Kenny Gamble and music activist Dyana Williams -- the month-long observance focuses on the contributions of artists: past, present and future.
Obama went on to highlight how black artists have influenced culture across the globe.
“Songs by African-American musicians span the breadth of the human experience and resonate in every corner of our Nation -- animating our bodies, stimulating our imaginations, and nourishing our souls,” he wrote. “In the ways they transform real stories about real people into art, these artists speak to universal human emotion and the restlessness that stirs within us all. African-American music helps us imagine a better world, and it offers hope that we will get there together. “
Read more of President Obama’s Black Music Month Proclamation in its entirety here.