President Jimmy Carter first designated June as Black Music Month in 1979, and celebrated the decree with a White House concert
Though Carter declared June Black Music Month with the event in 1979, and black music institutions celebrated every June thereafter, Black Music Month didn’t become an official observation until 2000. Dyana Williams discovered in the late ’90s that President Carter didn’t issue an official decree, so she worked with her local congresswoman to draft House Resolution 509, better known as The African-American Music Bill. In its official form, the bill – signed by former president Bill Clinton – called for a formal acknowledgment and celebration of black music’s contribution to and impact on American life and culture. This is the spirit in which we observe Black Music Month today.
Whereas artists, songwriters, producers, engineers, educators, executives, and other professionals in the music industry provide inspiration and leadership through their creation of music, dissemination of educational information, and financial contributions to charitable and community-based organizations;
Whereas African-American music is indigenous to the United States and originates from African genres of music;
Whereas African-American genres of music such as gospel, blues, jazz, rhythm and blues, rap, the Motown sound, and hip-hop have their roots in the African-American experience;
Whereas African-American music has a pervasive influence on dance, fashion, language, art, literature, cinema, media, advertisements, and other aspects of culture;
Whereas the prominence of African-American music in the 20th century has reawakened interest in the legacy and heritage of the art form of African-American music;
Whereas African-American music embodies the strong presence of, and significant contributions made by, African-Americans in the music industry and society as a whole;
Whereas the multibillion-dollar African-American music industry contributes greatly to the domestic and worldwide economy;
Whereas African-American music has a positive impact on and broad appeal to diverse groups, both nationally and internationally; and
Whereas in 1979 President Carter recognized June as African-American Music Month, and President Clinton subsequently recognized June as African-American Music Month: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives-(1) recognizes the importance of the contributions of African-American music to global culture and the positive impact of African-American music on global commerce; and (2) calls on the people of the United States to take the opportunity to study, reflect on, and celebrate the majesty, vitality, and importance of African-American music.