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East Texas radio stations celebrate Black Music Month

“Black music is American music and there is no other way to put it. We've touched everything, and there is no way of denying that.”

TYLER, Texas — June is a month of many annual holidays and celebrations — from Pride Month to Juneteenth and Father's Day -- but have you heard of Black Music Month?

It's a month-long celebration that pays homage to past and present Black artists who have made impacts in the music industry. 

Black Music Month was created in 1979 by President Jimmy Carter.

"Formerly called National Black Music Month, this celebration of African American musical contributions is re-established annually by presidential proclamation," the National Museum of African American History & Culture

In 2009 it was re-named African-American Music Appreciation Month by President Barack Obama

Since then, Black music continues to evolve but also traces back to its original roots — a holy sound.

"Gospel music was the beginning of the African American music industry," said Gloria Washington, executive director of the Texas African American Museum in Tyler. "From gospel music, different types of genre have been attached to that rhythm and blues, jazz, hip hop, all of that attributes back to the gospel aspect of it."

One of the leading outlets that put many famous Black artists and entertainers on the map was Black radio dating back to the 1940s — a time when our nation was heavily divided. 

"Black radio has always led the forefront of the charge for black music," said Melz on the MIC, host on 107.3 KISS FM in Tyler. "Because again, it was out of necessity that Black radio was born in the first place, we didn't have outlets for our music to be heard because of the racist standards of America at that time."

The racial standards in America at that time didn't stop legendary artists from flourishing and becoming household names in the music industry. 

From Ray Charles to the "Queen of Soul" Aretha Franklin to Michael Jackson, Black music has evolved over the years becoming the leader in mainstream music. 

In celebration of Black Music Month, local radio stations will play some classic hits from past artists that have shaped today's generation of music. 

"We may pick out a Jay-Z or a Michael Jackson record just to commemorate that Black music has been influential throughout time," said Dwayne Blaq, host on The Blaze

From the early days of gospel, to R&B and hip-hop, Black music continues to impact the culture and inspire the next generation of artists. 

"The past artists have paved the way for us that are coming up, us independent artists that are coming now," said Nancy Taylor, aspiring gospel artist.

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