Celebrating Black Music Month 2011 - Part 1
June 7, 2011
Why Black Music Month
Most people know that June is the month that we celebrate Black Music. They also know that it is a month that has enormous significance for both the radio and music industries. As you know, today we live in a culture of instant gratification, where the attributes of patience and determination are often hard to find. While the spirit behind all those terms is still appropriate in 2011, the buzzwords "conservatism" and "rugged individualism" have taken on new meaning. While black is still and always will be beautiful to some, being black alone no longer puts bread on the table or gas in the tank. And gas, in particular, has risen to the point where it is forcing some in our communities to have to make ugly choices between feeding the car or feeding their families.
An Historic Safer Reality
America today continues to be a conservative land whose people are preoccupied with safety, growth and economic stability, more selfishly perhaps than at any time in the last few years. There is nothing wrong with that except realistically, individual and corporate gains are coming at the expense of the downtrodden, poor and have-nots -- groups whose major constituencies are America's minorities. Many of these minorities are African-Americans with little or no hope. So just to maintain our current status quo, we must combine our efforts on a national basis.
As we celebrate June -- Black Music Month 2011 -- one of the goals and obligations those of us who are a position of influence must have is to work to better educate and assist those who seek career opportunities in radio and music and to help those already established in the field to reach higher levels of success. This is true empowerment.
Black Music Month is also a time when those of us in radio need to recognize our responsibilities and take full advantage of our tremendous reach and influence and combine that with forward vision. Today, in 2011, it's not just about race, levels of income or statue ... it's also about self-help. Self-help in which the energy of the black middle class is channeled into a struggle against "the enemy within," specifically against the dysfunctional behavior that continues to plague African-American communities who encompass a large majority of our listeners. If we truly understand this and act on it, our lives will become more meaningful and our listeners better informed.
(Next week Part 2)