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Congressional Democrats Propose June as Black Music Month

Congressional Democrats Propose June as Black Music Month

Rep. Shontel Brown (D-Ohio) speaks during a news conference with Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) and fellow House Democrats outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Sept. 27, 2023. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Savannah Hulsey Pointer

Savannah Hulsey Pointer

6/5/2024

Updated: 6/6/2024

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A group of more than 40 Democrats have signed onto a proposed resolution to designate the month of June as Black Music Month while inviting Americans to participate, according to a June 5 announcement.
Rep. Shontel Brown (D-Ohio) introduced the resolution that all music, including music from the United States and other parts of the world that range from heavy metal to Negro spirituals, has been influenced and molded by black music in ways that “transcend genres and styles.”
“Black music has shaped my life, shaped America, and influenced so many music genres. Black music is the soundtrack of our struggle and joy,” Ms. Brown, co-chair of the Congressional Rock and Roll Caucus, said in a statement.
“June is the month where we celebrate Juneteenth and the struggle for Black freedom. From concerts and playlists to museum exhibits and school programming, building up Black Music Month is an opportunity to educate and celebrate.”
In addition to support from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the National Museum of African American Music, and the Louis Armstrong House Museum, the resolution has received support from a total of 44 original cosponsors, Ms. Brown’s office said.
The resolution requests that the United States acknowledge Black Music Month by implementing initiatives that enhance the artistry, skill, and talent of black musicians and music, promote diversity, equity, and inclusion, and raise awareness of the effects and legacy of black music.
“African American music is the heartbeat of American culture, detailing stories of struggle, triumph, and unity,” Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), a co-sponsor of the resolution, said in a statement.
“From jazz to hip-hop, its rhythms transcend borders, shaping the very essence of American identity. I am proud to represent Queens, New York, a borough that produced several notable musicians, including John Coltrane, Lena Horne, LL Cool J, and Nicki Minaj. It is only right that we recognize and celebrate the significance of Black music in our country and the impact that it has made around the globe.”
Another supporter of the cause, Rep. André Carson (D-Ind.), spoke to the measure, saying: “Throughout moments of sorrow and triumph, music has given Black Americans a language to express our experience. Rhythms from our African ancestors traveled with us to these shores, and out of our oppression and pain, we created new sounds, like gospel, blues, jazz and Hip-Hop.
“Black Music Month deserves to be recognized not just for its indelible mark on our history, but the ways it continues to give us a voice. Black Music is empowerment, and I’m honored to continue elevating it in the halls of Congress.”
Ms. Brown’s resolution asserts that black music encompasses a vast array of styles and genres. Along with that, “black music has been central to the struggle for Black freedom,” the resolution states. Black music “has often been imbued with deeply emotional character related to the discrimination and mistreatment faced by Black Americans,” it added.
In a proclamation on May 31, President Joe Biden stated that black music is “a staple of American art and a powerhouse of our culture” and has “held a mirror to the good, the bad, and the truth of our Nation.”
“Black music began when enslaved people, who were cruelly prohibited from communicating in their native languages, found ways to express themselves through music,” President Biden said.
“Set to the sound of African rhythms, they captured the inhumanity, tragedy, and toll that America’s original sin took on their lives while also telling the stories of their hopes and dreams, faith and spirituality, and love and purpose. Ever since, Black performers have carried on that tradition of using art to break down barriers, create sacred spaces for expression, and give voice to the promise of America for all Americans.”
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Savannah Hulsey Pointer

Savannah Hulsey Pointer

Author

Savannah Pointer is a politics reporter for The Epoch Times. She can be reached at savannah.pointer@epochtimes.us

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