So many things are happening in the month of June 2020. Images of protests have frequented our television screens. Shooting of unarmed Black American women, men, and children having become the core themes, concerning issues relating to Black American communities. Yet, a very important celebration has gone hidden. It is a celebration, which highlights the musical contributions, culture, and aesthetics of Black American people. It happens every year, and unfortunately, it has taken a back seat to less beautiful representations and activities happening in our community.
There has not been as much attention given to June 2020 as Black American Music Month! Unfortunately, this month has been overshadowed by traumatic experiences, occurring in Black American communities. The down side of this is it highlights pain and struggle as the dominant image of Black American communities and culture. Yes! That is the atmosphere, occurring right now. The momentum it has had in past years does not seem to take full effect. Now is the period when the celebration should be amplified even more. Music has always been a healing factor for Black American people. It has been our methodology of survival, overcoming mourning, and dancing with happiness. Furthermore, it has also been continuous waves of re-cycling, re-birthing, and re-channeling our very existence. It is a way for us to color ourselves, when systems tried to taint our very image. Our music elevated, and illuminated, our very presence in a way that even education was not able to. There is a particular, Universal connection when it comes to re-aligning oneself to life, in the face of being painted as, “lifeless.“
Black American Music Month 2020 is an auspicious time right now, in the healing of Black American communities. For one, it reminds us of our humanity. Our music is stems from our physical presence in a land; a land we made familiar and reflective of our very own existence. On another note, it simply makes us feel good. Feeling good in one’s own creativity and aesthetics is a daily reminder of our humanity. It highlights that our existence is not solely one plagued with frustrations and hardships. Within our myriad array of cultures, we also have our feminine foundation of creativity.
The problem with the current, political movements happening in the context of Black American people is that everything is being presented with a negative. While there are positive attributes and stories highlighting the television, and other media realms on a daily basis, somehow they are being outweighed in the visual. Clearly, there is an imbalance happening. Furthermore, it is also very toxic. Only focusing on oppression, and highlighting racism (and sexism) when it comes to Black American people, is an insult to the very foundation of our existence. It denies any joy within our experience. Even media outlets highlighting Black Americans traveling outside of the United States to live, do a disservice to the very identity of Black American people. There is a strong narrative, which only articulates our people as consistently in a constant state of agony and suffering. Imagine how we are deemed as the only people, who cannot experience joy within our own culture.
One of the delights of celebrating Black American Music Month is how it affirms the beauty of being a Black American person. The constant state, and image, is thrown out of the door. Our humanity is nurtured, and cherished, through our music. Black American womanhood is affirmed, and nourished, through our music! Black American masculinity is healed through our music. There should be no shame in being, Black American. We do not have to venture outside of our communities, or copy other ethnicities, in order to experience culture. We have our own culture. It is authentic because it paints our movement patterns within these United States of America. In fact, we have many. It is very pertinent and necessary for many to understand that, we too, have contributed to the thread of human existence.
When I think of June as Black American Music Month, I am enthralled by the level of richness, which has been produced within our culture, within a given period of time. It truly is magical! Please note the use of the term “magic” is not cliche. On the contrary, it highlights a particular process and journey, that is unique and reflective of this peculiar body of people. Its a time of celebration. There are critical moments of meditation during the month of June, as it gives us the opportunity to assess where we are musically? What is the direction we wish to take our community? We get the opportunity to observe the cycles of our music. We receive the option of staying still, and feeling this wave of energy feed our Souls. Just think about it! A whole month of experiencing the different genres, styles, and musical artistry of Black American people. That doesn’t mean we only stick to that month. Of course the work of cultural preservation is always at play. It continues throughout the course of the year. Yet, this month actually permits us to receive, in large forms of abundance, the different forms of holistic richness! It was a form of healing, that we created for ourselves, even during the hard times. A perfect elixir in knowing that Universal beauty and truth always overcomes the ugly tragedies of being human.
Right now, there is an ugliness being painted onto Black America’s gardens, her soiling, and people. And, I don’t specifically mean the murders of unarmed Black American people. What I am specifically addressing is the use of these current issues, as a means to taint the existence of Black America. Presenting it as this desolate place, where love and nurture does not exist. Displaying it as ugly, with no beauty in sight. Constantly providing stories regarding Black Americans leaving the United States, yet, rarely discussing the millions of people choosing to stay, and contribute to the existing beauty, which grows in our community. Struggle culture is consistently connected to Black America’s communities. Ghettos, misery, and other societal ills are depicted as the primary images of our people. Even though socio-economic hardships are one reality, it’s not the only one. Even in the ghettos, there is creativity, and culture. Failure to tell the entire story is a form of psychological and emotional violence against our mental psyche. It is teaching us to hate ourselves, under the guise of liberation and struggle. And once it is achieved take the rewards from our own gardens, and place it elsewhere, because supposedly our spaces are infertile. This is one of the prominent notions being illuminated. Its another form of self-hatred, just with a different twist.
June is Black American Music Month! Its a delicious month! A beautiful month because it celebrates beauty. Healthy and holistic images of Black American people is at play. It glitters us all over again. Within our own culture and musical, we feel beautiful. Isn’t it wonderful how this month goes against the grain? It goes against this racist notion that any and everyone can benefit, and be soothed by Black American music, but Black American people. During this month, we are re-centered within our very culture. That is therapeutic, in its own right. Black American women are reminded that they have their own gardens to express their femininity. Black American men remember that they have a cultural garden, they can return to for healing. We have many cultures! June is one of those months, which affirms that. Happiness surrounds us and illuminates our very presence. Its exciting, euphoric, and well!
As we continue to relish upon the last days of June 2020, music is a healer in the wake of so much turmoil! Turn off the television, sometimes. Turn off many of the news outlets and reports, which consistently presents destruction. Instead, just listen to the music. Dance to the beat. Feel the endless rhythm. Its divine and sweet! Allow oneself to relate Black America’s gardens to the magic housed, within! Know that there is a people who grew them. Growing them well, they did! As we relish and enjoy June’s musical celebration, a great deal of love is being spread. Its a new love, a new image, and one where Black America is performing herself, in the holistic wellness, we deserve!