I can’t even imagine myself in a world without music.
So many of my memories and emotions are tied to music, that certain songs bring up past experiences so clearly it’s almost as if I am reliving them. India Arie’s River Rise still reminds me of the smell of the fresh linen candle I kept on a warmer in my college dorm room. Sade’s No Ordinary Love reminds me of the hours I spent at the hair salon with my mother every other Thursday evening as a child.
RIP to Dallas’ 107.5 The Oasis (and shout out to everyone that sang the jingle as they read it). That station provided the soundtrack to a decade’s worth of presses.
I haven’t been able to listen to the opening line of my favorite Prince song the same way since he passed on. I guess I should’ve known, by the way you parked your car sideways, that it wouldn’t last . . .
Music is among my favorites of the Lord’s gifts, and a creation so powerful that it can reach across language barriers and national borders in the toughest of times. Something so gripping that Beethoven kept making it even after he lost his hearing. It had buried deep down inside of him so that the desire to engage in it just would not let him go. And since our earliest days, it has played a role in the building of what we know to be Black culture, shaping our experiences, encouragement, celebration and coping.
While R&B and Hip Hop are what often first comes to mind for some folks when thinking about the intersections of Blackness and music, Black contributions to music can be seen across genres throughout history. Music, like many other facets of American life, would not be what it is without our influence.
In 1976, President Jimmy Carter declared the month of June to be Black Music Month. It was to serve as an acknowledgement of the impact Black people have had on music across genres, in light of Black artists being snubbed in popular genres such as country, jazz, and rock & roll.
In 2009, President Barack Obama declared June to be African American Music Month, with a similar aim, but also acknowledging the impact Black artists and music have had in these genres, as well as in Soul, Gospel, R&B, and Hip Hop, and the impact our contributions have had on pop culture as a whole.
Black people have been shaping culture and setting trends for generations.
No disrespect to Obeezy, but we’re reclaiming its original title and keeping it potently and unapologetically Black this year. Why? Because throughout the month of June, GoodCulture will be celebrating the musical genius and contributions of Black artists and musicians throughout history and the diaspora. We’ll be reflecting on not only notable artists and projects, but also highlighting the work of local artists and sitting with the memories that arise when certain songs hit you at just the right times.
You’re probably thinking of one now.
GoodCulture has a few surprises up our sleeves this month. Stay plugged in with us as we roll out new content and celebrate one of the things we do best. Whether your introduction to Black music was Andre Crouch on the way to church on Sundays, your grandmother’s Etta James record collection, or learning to play the bassline of Mr. Pookie’s Crook for Life on the piano of your elementary school music room, we invite you to reminisce, share and discover Black music with us. For the Culture.
What are some of your favorite musical memories? Share them in the comments below, and be sure to follow us on instagram and twitter @GoodCulture_DTX for updates, news, and the dopest urban content and programming in Dallas.
Lauren Whiteman is from Dallas, she eats Rudy’s, it’s been a while since she’s been to Big T though. She has a couple of degrees from the University of Oklahoma and is now an educator in Dallas area. Lauren’s work focuses on advocacy, student development, and the miseducation of Black and African American students in higher education. She’s a TEDx presenter and hopes future generations never forget what to do for the 99 and the 2000. For her twitter shenanigans, visit @itsmewhiteman.