With black music being such an intricate part of African American life, many of us might not feel the need to celebrate it as a national observance. Still, Black Music Month has its rightful place in history. The observance, honoring the vast musical contributions of black artists, was first declared in 1979 by President Jimmy Carter. In 2000, President Bill Clinton signed the African-American Music Bill, which formally established June as Black Music Month nationally.
Last week, President Trump issued this year’s proclamation and, in a statement, credited the influences of black music pioneers for giving “all Americans” a better understanding of American culture. “The indelible legacy of these musicians who have witnessed our Nation’s greatest achievements, as well as its greatest injustices give all Americans a richer, deeper understanding of American culture. Their creativity has shaped every genre of music, including rock and roll, rhythm and blues, jazz, gospel, hip hop, and rap,” he said.
Chuck Berry, Dizzy Gillespie, and Ella Fitzgerald were acknowledged as black music greats of the past whose music still brings people together.
The powerful influence of African-American artists is due, in no small part, to the never ending amount of innovative, exciting music that is recorded and released. Each year, the BET Awards pays tribute to icons from the past, as well as today’s current and up-and-coming music makers.
The lineup of artists performing at the BET Awards this year include Bruno Mars, Migos, Tamar Braxton and Trey Songz. Jamie Foxx, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Trevor Noah, Issa Rae, Robin Thede and others will be on hand as presenters. Saturday Night Live's Leslie Jones will host the awards show.
Beyoncé is nominated for seven awards for “Lemonade” and Mars is nominated for five awards. Chance the Rapper, Solange, and Migos will also battle it out for this year's top prizes. For a complete list of nominees, go to BET.com.
The 2017 BET Awards will air live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday, June 25 at 5 p.m. PST on BET.