Posted: Tuesday – June 09, 2009 @ 9:50 PM
Before the music industry united in 1979 to officially decree June as Black History Month, Atlantic Records had already been a champion of Jazz and R&B for thirty years.
This year, the legendary label has tapped some of its current stars to celebrate the continuing legacy of African-American music in a new promotional campaign.
The “Atlantic IS Black Music” features Atlantic recording artists T.I., Maino, Cee-Lo, B.o.B. aka Bobby Ray, Young Steff, Sophia Fresh, Janelle Monae and others sharing their views on Black Music and the Atlantic legacy through a series of webisodes delivered online at www.atlanticrecords.com.
In addition to the artists views on music, the series also sheds light on the history of Black Music Month.
This week’s video, for example, features footage from the first Black Music Month celebration held at the White House by President Jimmy Carter in June 1979.
Featured in the video is DJ, journalist and scholar Dyana Williams, founder of the International Association of African American Music.
Williams provides the commentary on the historic event alongside Warner Music Group Executive Vice President Kevin Liles.
As a testament to the impact that African American music has on artists across the globe, Atlantic has also included songbirds Estelle and Laura Izibor, from the United Kingdom and Ireland respectively, into the celebration.
“It’s important to celebrate Black History Month because it’s the root of a lot of different styles of music,” said Estelle in the third webisode of the Atlantic IS Black Music campaign.
Adds Izibor, “A majority of music originates from Black Music, from Black people. And this highlights how much Black people have contributed to music on a worldly basis.”
Since it’s first major hit in 1949, “Drinkin’ Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee” by Stick McGhee, Atlantic Records has been home to some of the biggest names in R&B and Jazz.
In the 50s, it was home to Ray Charles, the Clovers, the Drifters, the Coasters, Lavern Baker, Ruth Brown and Big Joe Turner.
At the height of the Jazz movement, John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, the Modern Jazz Quartet and many more called Atlantic home.
The Soul revolution led by Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, Ben E. King, Wilson Pickett, Sam & Dave, Booker T. & the MGs, gave way to the success of legends and pioneers like Roberta Flack, Donny Hathaway, Chic, Sister Sledge and Levert and modern day success stories like Lupe Fiasco, Flo Rida, Toni Braxton and Trey Songz.