Saturday, June 7, 2014

Black Music Month Co-Founder Dyana Williams Remembers The Creation Of The National Commemoration

  What is Black Music Month? Why do we celebrate it? And at this point, with rap and R&B now the dominant genres on the pop charts, couldn't every month be Black Music Month?
Such questions tend to come up every June, when Americans celebrate the rich history and multibillion-dollar cultural influence of black music. The monthlong observance was first declared in 1979 by President Jimmy Carter, with the encouragement of legendary songwriter-producer Kenny Gamble. In the years since, Dyana Williams, Gamble's ex-wife and the protégée of respected music industry pioneer Frankie Crocker, has worked to honor the contributions of pioneers such as Chuck Berry, James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Nina Simone and countless others who helped shape the American musical landscape.
However, years after Carter declared the first Black Music Month, Williams learned that a presidential proclamation had never been signed, meaning that the celebration was not officially on the books. Williams decided to take it upon herself to lay the groundwork for the passing of the African-American Music Bill, which formally established Black Music Month as a national observance.
In celebration of Black Music Month, the self-proclaimed music activist and celebrity strategist, who celebrated 40 years working in radio this past November, opened up to The Huffington Post about her landmark efforts to bring about the passing of the African-American Music Bill, as well as her thoughts on former clients Chris Brown and Justin Bieber and their recent legal troubles.


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