Thump In The Morning

Thump In The Morning

Thump In The Morning

Many of us know about Black History Month, But, did you know there’s a month dedicated to Black musicians and the music we’ve created?

June is African American Music Appreciation Month! According to National Museum of African American History & Culture it was “created by President Jimmy Carter in 1979.” This month celebrates the African American musical influences that changed an important part of our nation’s cultural heritage.

Otherwise known as National Black Music Month, this celebration of African American musical contributions is re-established annually by presidential proclamation.

Black music, which includes gospel music, highlights the central role that music plays in the African American community, spiritual and religious life. The earliest form of Black musical expressions in America were based on Christian psalms and hymns and merged with African music styles and secular American music forms.

Negro spirituals were originally an oral tradition with Christian values while also defining the hardships of slavery. Gospel music originated in the black church and has become a globally recognized genre of popular music. In its early years, gospel music functioned as a religious and ceremonial practice during worship services. Now, gospel music is also marketed commercially and draws on contemporary, secular sounds while still conveying a spiritual message.

Gospel music gave birth to another genre called Blues. The blues also greatly influenced the cultural and social lives of African Americans. Different styles of the blues arose in various regions, including the Mississippi Delta, Memphis, Chicago and Southern Texas. Each region has their own style and message of the blues.

Jazz first materialized in New Orleans and Multiple forms of the genre exist today, from the dance-oriented music of the 1920s big-band era to the experimental flair of modern and Jazz fusion.

R&B is another diverse genre with roots in jazz,  blues and gospel music. R&B helped spread African American culture and popularized the idea of racial integration on the airwaves and in white society.

Hip-Hop and rap are musical traditions  embedded in the African American culture. Like jazz, hip-hop has become a global phenomenon. Hip-hop music have developed an entire cultural form, while rap remains a way for artists to voice opinions and share experiences regarding social and political issues.

Here are some of the Black musicians who influenced the culture.

  • Gospel

    Rev. Milton Biggham is known for starting the Miami Mass Choir, The Mississippi Mass Choir, the Dallas Fort Worth Mass Choir, and the Georgia Mass Choir.  Biggham has over 40 plus years in gospel music. He is now the pastor of Mt. Vernon Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey.
    Rev. Biggham has recorded, performed with, written for and/or produced some of the biggest names in gospel including the legendary Rev. James Cleveland, Albertina Walker, Rev. Clay Evans, Rev. Timothy Wright, the New Jersey Mass Choir, LaShun Pace, Dorothy Norwood, Inez Andrews and many others.
    Some of his more popular compositions include “I’m Blessed” and “What He’s Done for Me”.

  • Jazz

    Louis Armstrong was one of the most recognizable entertainers in the world when he chose the working-class neighborhood of Corona, Queens to be his home in 1943. We preserve Louis and Lucille’s home, now a historic site and world-class museum. We also provide access to Mr. Armstrong’s extensive archives, develop programs for the public that educate and inspire and host performances with multi-disciplinary artists from around the world.

  • Blues

    After serving in World War II, Riley B. King, better known as B.B. King, became a disc jockey in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was dubbed “the Beale Street Blues Boy.” That nickname was shortened to “B.B.” and the guitarist cut his first record in 1949. He spent the next several decades recording and touring, playing more than 300 shows a year. An artist of international renown, King worked with other musicians from rock, pop and country backgrounds. He won his 15th Grammy Award in 2009. 

  • Rock & Roll

    According to Brittany Spanos, Tina Turner is the queen of rock & roll. There’s no disputing that. Her flashy performance style (That fringe! Those legs! The wigs!) has inspired generations of rock and pop stars, ranging from Mick Jagger to Beyoncé. Her voice is in a class of its own, molten with swagger and emotion. Her influence is still reaching the further depths of music, having expanded the once-limited idea of how a Black woman could conquer a stage and be both a powerhouse and a multidimensional being.

    Born Anna Mae Bullock on November 26, 1939, in Brownsville, Tennessee, the rock & roller led a life that was anything but easy before she eventually pursued a solo career. She was a fighter, a choice that was made for her. Her father was abusive, and her mother ran away from the family, leaving Bullock and her sisters to fend for themselves. As a teen, she found solace in St. Louis nightclubs, which soon put her in Ike Turner’s orbit. She joined his Kings of Rhythm in 1957, and within a few years Bullock was renamed Tina Turner. As a married couple, they became the Ike & Tina Turner Revue

  • R&B

    Mary J. Blige made an immediate impression with her 1992 debut What’s the 411?, and has remained one of R&B’s more consistent artists in the decades since. Born in the Bronx, Blige had a tumultuous childhood; her father was a Vietnam vet with post-traumatic stress disorder; and Blige was molested by a family friend at a young age. She found solace in singing in church, but by age 16 had dropped out of school and was abusing various drugs. She was however still singing, and a cassette demo of her covering Anita Baker’s “Caught Up in the Rapture” began making the rounds  initially through her mother who was dating an Uptown Record executive. She was signed to the label and teamed with producer Sean Combs. A semi-autobiographical album, What’s the 411? was framed with recordings from Blige’s answering machine. Combs’ production drew from modern hip-hop but allowed Blige to shine as a vocalist, She paid tribute to one role model, Chaka Khan, with a cover of Rufus’ “Sweet thing” which joined “You Remind Me” and “Real Love:” as the album’s hit singles. However Blige’s newfound success coincided with one of her toughest personal periods, as she spiraled into depression and further drug use. She overcame adversity and quickly became the voice for many African American women that was dealing with being broken.

  • Hip Hop

    In 1986, Run-DMC were rap superstars while Aerosmith was a ’70s rock band on its last legs. But when the two groups teamed up to record a mashup of Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way,” they changed the course of music history. The Washington Post’s Geoff Edgers documents the saga in his book, “Walk This Way: Run-DMC, Aerosmith, and the Song That Changed American Music Forever.”

  • Pop

    Michael Jackson set and broke records throughout his entire career. As of 2009, he was the most awarded person, artist, entertainer with 372 recognized awards. This was excluding Diamond, Platinum and Gold Certifications. In 2000, he became the biggest selling artist of all time, with 380 million records sold. His song, “Thriller,” still hold the record for most copies of a single sold — 110 million. At his Super Bowl half time show in 1993, he attracted the biggest TV audience of all time — 133.4 million. His impact was immense and undeniable. The list of records he broke is seemingly endless. However, his real influence took place in the cultural changes he made within our society.

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