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​obama announces that june is african-american music appreciation month

‘African-American music exemplifies the creative spirit at the heart of American identity and is among the most innovative and powerful art the world has ever known’.

by Charlotte Gush
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06 June 2016, 12:24pm

In an official presidential proclamation, Barack Obama has announced that June 2016 will be African-American Appreciation Month in the US. "A vital part of our Nation's proud heritage, African-American music exemplifies the creative spirit at the heart of American identity and is among the most innovative and powerful art the world has ever known," Obama writes, adding "It accompanies us in our daily lives, and it has rung out at turning points in our history and demonstrated how our achievements as a culture go hand-in-hand with our progress as a Nation".

"This month, we celebrate the music that reminds us that our growth as a Nation and as people is reflected in our capacity to create great works of art," Barack continues. "Let us recognise the performers behind this incredible music, which has compelled us to stand up -- to dance, to express our faith through song, to march against injustice, and to defend our country's enduring promise of freedom and opportunity for all". The president adds that he calls upon "public officials, educators, and all the people of the United States to observe this month with appropriate activities and programs that raise awareness and foster appreciation of music that is composed, arranged, or performed by African Americans".

The Obama administration has been an especially musical one, with both Barack and Michelle dropping playlists of their favourite tunes during 2015 -- Barack's Summer Nights mix included Beyoncé, Frank Ocean, Mary J Blige, Nina Simone and more, and Michelle's International Day of the Girl playlist featured Destiny's Child, Alicia Keys, Lauryn Hill and Aretha Franklin. Obama named Kendrick Lamar's instant classic To Pimp A Butterfly his top album of 2015, with How Much A Dollar Cost being his favourite track.

The Obamas have also met some of American music's biggest stars, inviting Nicki Minaj, Pusha T, Alicia Keys, Chance the Rapper, J. Cole, Ludacris, Busta Rhymes, Common, Wale, DJ Khaled and more to the White House to discuss My Brother's Keeper, an initiative to help keep disadvantaged American young people on the right track, and to reform the criminal justice system. They also invited Usher to perform, singing him Happy Birthday in return.

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Text Charlotte Gush
Image via YouTube