June is African-American Music Appreciation Month

June is full of important & inspiring celebrations. Did you know it’s African-American Music Appreciation Month, or Black Music Month? As written by National Museum of African American Music in Nashville, “Each year, Black Music Month serves as a reminder of African American musicians’ and music creators’ generations-long legacies, and sets the stage for evolving conversations about the songs, stories, and artists that laid the foundation for American music.”

African-American musicians have made their mark on every moment of our nation’s history through their work and inspiration. As an organization striving to both inspire creativity and impact social change through arts experiences, we feel it’s important to pause and honor this celebration. So throughout June, we’ll use this link to compile resources, events, and organizations to support.

This is a growing/ongoing list of resources, so keep checking back! Scroll to see more; we’ll also be posting content on our social media channels – @urbangateways on Instagram, @UrbanGatewaysChicago on Facebook. Tag us on social or comment here with additional resources you’ve found valuable!

Food for thought:

Here’s a primer from the National Museum of African American History and Culture discussing the musical genres that African Americans have created, inspired, and fostered (hint: pretty much every American musical genre):
Celebrating Black Music Month >>

Here’s a Pitchfork article discussing Black Music Month’s history and its potential as a tool to create visibility for a broad array of Black musicians, not just superstars:
What Black Music Month Means Now >>

And here’s an Ebony interview with Dyana Williams, “Godmother” of Black Music Month, from 2019:
Ebony Interview with Dyana Williams >>


#AAMAM – All Time Favorites from Kamala Harris >>
Black Music Appreciation Playlist on Spotify >>
15 Essential Songs via PBS >>


Get to know them and support their work!

National Museum of African American Music >>
National Museum of African American History and Culture >>


Meet a few of the artists on our roster whose programs specifically speak to the history and present-day influence of African American music and culture!

The Evolution of African-American Music by Bruce Henry & Band
Learn more about the artist: bruceahenry.com

Breakin’ It Down: Hip Hop History by Chicago Dance Crash
Learn more about them: chicagodancecrash.com


Celebration of Legends Benefit Concert 6/17 – FREE! >>
(via National Museum of African American Music)

State of Black Music Summit 6/18 – FREE! >>
(via National Museum of African American Music)

…Plus a special virtual concert!

Before Reginald R. Robinson was an internationally known American Jazz and Ragtime pianist and a MacArthur Genius, he was a student in an Urban Gateways program in the 1980s; a jazz ensemble visited his elementary school with a live performance, and he developed a love for the piano and ragtime music.

Now, as an Honorary Board Member of Urban Gateways, Reginald reminds us how just one arts experience can set a new course in a young person’s life. Listen to Reginald Robinson’s Urban Gateways story and enjoy a virtual concert of his incredible ragtime music on our YouTube channel!

Barrelhouse music with Reginald Robinson >>