President Trump has officially declared June 2017 as African-American Music Appreciation Month.
On Wednesday, Trump continued the annual presidential tradition by issuing this year’s proclamation. In his announcement, President Trump credited the influences of black music pioneers for giving “all Americans” a better understanding of American culture.
“During June, we pay tribute to the contributions African Americans have made and continue to make to American music,” the statement reads. “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.”
The month-long observance, honoring the vast musical contributions of black artists, was first declared in 1979 by President Jimmy Carter. In 2000, President Clinton signed the African-American Music Bill, which formally established Black Music Month as a national observance.
In this year’s statement, Trump called out such greats like Chuck Berry, Dizzy Gillespie, and Ella Fitzgerald as black musicians who have exemplified how music can bring people together.
“These musicians also remind us of our humanity and of our power to overcome,” the statement reads. “They expressed the soul of blues, gospel, and rock and roll, which has so often captured the hardships of racism and injustices suffered by African Americans, as well as daily joys and celebrations.”
“Their work highlights the power music has to channel the human experience, and they remain a testament to the resilience of all freedom-loving people,” he continued. “We are grateful for their contribution to the cannon of great American art.”
Read more of President Trump’s Black Music Month Proclamation in its entirety here.