Music can tell a story, assuage our sorrows, provide blessing and redemption, and express a soul’s sublime and powerful beauty. It inspires us daily, giving voice to the human spirit. For many, including the African-American community, music unites individuals through a shared heritage. During African-American Music Appreciation Month, we celebrate the extraordinary legacy of African-American singers, composers, and musicians, as well as their indelible contributions to our Nation and our world.
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Throughout our history, African-American music has conveyed the hopes and hardships of a people who have struggled, persevered and overcome. Through centuries of injustice, music comforted slaves, fueled a cultural renaissance, and sustained a movement for equality. Today, from the shores of Africa and the islands of the Caribbean to the jazz clubs of New Orleans and the music halls of Detroit, African-American music reflects the rich sounds of many experiences, cultures, and locales.
African-American musicians have created and expanded a variety of musical genres, synthesizing diverse artistic traditions into a distinctive soundscape. The soulful strains of gospel, the harmonic and improvisational innovations of jazz, the simple truth of the blues, the rhythms of rock and roll, and the urban themes of hip-hop all blend into a refrain of song and narrative that traces our Nation’s history.