June is African American Music Appreciation Month

June is African-American Music  Appreciation Month: Black Blind Blues to Krip-Hop Nation

June is Black Music Month and I want to share some history of Black disabled musicians in America. We can go back to slave ships where disabled Africans were separated in dozens and who were forced to entertain by battling each other through short snappy stories.

We can go to minstrel to freak shows where many were Black disabled musicians and of course the Blues where we had many Black disabled/blind musicians from Cripple Clarence Lofton to Willie Johnson to Ray Charles to Jazz like Al Hibbler to Rahsaan Roland Kirk to today’s Hip-Hop like Bushwick Bill and Brother Ali to name only a few. The history is deep in every era from abuse in the freak shows to ripping off a lot of Black blind Blues artists to the charity model of Hip-Hop industry when it comes to disability and disabled artists.

When June like February comes around, I hold my breath thinking will the Black community make that connection and every year especially in June, I’m let down hard. Last year, 2023 it was a double shot in the gut when the 50 anniversary of Hip-Hop was with us plus the annual Black Music Month in June like a one two punch when disabled musicians were not even thought about.

With all of this Diversity, Equity and Inclusion talk but when it comes to Black disabled people in this case musicians we are still overlooked or not even thought of. We got to do better!

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