Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

African American Music Appreciation Month: Rock 'n' Roll

June is the month dedicated to the appreciation of African American music. It was first created by President Jimmy Carter in 1979 as Black Music Month and renamed by President Barak Obama to African American Music Appreciation Month in 2009.


Rock n Roll

"Rock 'n' roll music incorporates elements from all African American music genres and combines them with American pop and country music components. The genre was born in the 1950s and appealed to the rebellious yearnings of American youth culture." -- National Museum of African American History & Culture

The music we know today as rock and roll was influenced by many genres, most of which were influenced or created by African Americans. 

Below are some performances from big names in rock 'n' roll!

Check out MPLs Spotify Playlist of influential rock 'n' roll artists!

Sister Rosetta Tharpe (1915- 1973)

"She was one of the very first recording guitarists to incorporate heavy distortion on her tracks and she combined gospel, blues, and early R&B; religious and secular music; and notably black and white audience during the days of segregation. She influenced musicians such as Elivs Presley, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, and Eric Clapton." -- Cynthia Schemmer,

Little Richard (1932-2020)

"His unrestrained musicality and charismatic persona created a rock & roll blueprint followed by generations. Songs like "Tutti Frutti," "Long Tall Sally" and "Good Golly, Miss Molly" were amplified by Richard's rockin' piano, rolling rhythms and an electric stage presence. His sound and style were the cornerstones of rock & roll, and his outrageousness and rebellious spirit challenged the world to change." -- Michael Hill, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970)

"Jimi Hendrix was the single most inventive electric guitarist in rock. He did more to extend the reach of the instrument than anyone else of his generation. He single-handedly demolished traditional definitions of music by playing and recording sounds made with guitar that defied transposition or even explanation." -- Herb Bowie, Reasons to Rock