The music streaming giant announced the launch of its “All Music Is Black Music” programming this month to honor the origins and influence of Black music artists across all genres.
“I don’t think it’s commonplace for people to understand that all popular music comes from the origins and experiences of Black people,” Ebro Darden — Apple Music’s global editorial head of Hip-Hop and R&B — shared with Billboard. “We just need to make sure this is never forgotten.”
Black Music Month was co-founded by radio legend Dyana Williams, her ex-husband Kenny Gamble and radio DJ Ed Wright back in 1979 as a means to amplify and celebrate all these Black-influenced genres across our culture, the Recording Academy reports.
As we continue this annual tradition, Apple Music hopes to use its platform and reach to increase the recognition of Black music on a global scale.
“Black Music Month may be an American-created celebration, but the wellspring of rhythms and robust musical traditions that originated across the African continent remain the through line which ties together all Black music and much of the world’s popular music,” Apple Music said in a statement.
As a part of Apple Music’s exploration of the African diaspora and its impact on popular music, the platform has released over 30 playlists to showcase all the different styles of Black music from all over the world — including Scandinavia, Kazakhstan and Japan.
Additionally, the platform’s theme this year will spotlight radio programming, Apple TV content and a short film starring artists such as Megan Thee Stallion, Nas and Giveon.
Black artists have contributed to the growth and legacy of music for decades and without their influence, artists like Elvis Presley, Justin Bieber and The Beatles would not exist, Darden points out to Billboard.
His hope for Apple Music’s campaign is that it will help re-establish pride and ownership of popular genres for the Black community that are thought to be so far removed from our culture.
“I’m old enough to have had family members that expressed how painful it was to know that the music you loved would never be played on mainstream radio stations, the artists would never have their faces on the cover of albums [because] our music was called race music,” Darden tells Billboard. “Black music is Black people’s natural resource.”
Throughout the remainder of the month, Apple Music intends to continuously release hundreds of playlists as well as mixes from artists and DJs to support the campaign.
Apple Music isn’t the only streaming giant making it a point to honor Black music this year. As previously reported by AfroTech, Spotify recently announced the launch of its Frequency initiative — a hub that was created to invest in and celebrate Black voices and their artistry.