Follow these four Charlotte artists for Black Music Month

FILE - In this May 11, 2013 file photo, Aretha Franklin performs during McDonald's Gospelfest 2013 at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.Franklin won’t say what has caused her latest health problems, but says she’s had a “miraculous” recovery and is looking forward to performing soon.In a phone interview on Tuesday, Aug. 20, Franklin said that she recently had a cat scan and that it showed she was 85 percent improved. The 71-year-old has canceled several concerts and public appearances and blamed it on unspecified treatment. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)

If your go-to jam this month is Fetty Wap’s “Trap Queen,” some might say you’re approaching Black Music Month all wrong.

The context: 

In 1979, President Jimmy Carter christened June as Black Music Month. Nowadays, President Obama proclaims the annual celebration as African-American Music Appreciation Month. The verdict’s still out on whether that includes a song that idealizes women who cook cocaine.

Black Music Month is about recognizing the legacy of black music, which includes greats like Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin, Miles Coltrane and James Brown. It’s their works that inform so much of the music and culture we experience today.

“It’s more important today than ever before; a reminder of what a great art form black music is,” Black Music Month co-founder Kenny Gamble told Billboard. “Our legacy and present contributions still encourage those of future generations. It’s a cultural expression of multiple American genres; the basis for most other forms of music.”

Get in on the celebration:

Check out the acts of these four Charlotte music artists.

Harvey Cummings

Harvey Cummings is practically a household name in the local jazz scene. This saxophonist, pianist and songwriter is a Charlotte native who seduces ears for The Sol Fusion Band and his own band, The Harvey Cummings Project. Catch him next at the Gantt Center for its A Journey Through Jazz program on June 27.


Arsena Schroeder

I first heard the sweet lulls of Schroeder’s voice at a Raw Artists showcase earlier this year at Tremont Music Hall. She was promoting her new album, “For My Artist Child,” and I left feeling like my soul had been cleansed. After a show in Washington, D.C., she’ll return home to perform at the Old Town Farmer’s Market in Rock Hill on June 25.


Jason Jet

After watching this guy’s “Superheroes” video on YouTube, how could you not be charmed? The few songs on his Soundcloud aren’t enough to satisfy your thirst for electric soul, but fortunately, he’s working on a new album. Catch his sexy R&B act at this month’s edition of Soul-cial Sundays at Petra’s in Plaza Midwood on June 28.


D’Yenna Dukes

Dukes is one of the sultry hosts of the weekly event R&B Live. She’s got a great stage presence, and, more importantly, her voice is classic soul. Catch her on the mic on Thursday nights at R&B Live at Studio Movie Grille.
dyennaPhotos by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP and courtesy of the featured artists.


Kim Lawson Kim Lawson is a writer, editor, pen hoarder and occasional poet. Follow her on  Twitter @kimlawson22.



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