June marks Black Music Month

Bow down to some of the most game-changing artists across all genres

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Questlove will perform at the 2014 Afro-Punk Fest in Brooklyn

Questlove will perform at the 2014 Afro-Punk Fest in Brooklyn Photograph: Michael J. Chen


Folks, the time has come to pay tribute to the origin of just about every good song you've ever heard. That's right, June marks Black Music Month or, "if you nasty," African-American Music Appreciation Month. (Nod to all you Janet Jackson fans out there who caught that reference.)

As a black person, I daresay every month is Black Music Month (I could talk about this more, but as the French say, "Le duh.") We're the people who brought you Jimi Hendrix, Louis Armstrong and the queen of all queens, Beyoncé. Rap, blues and R&B?  That's us too. On that note, I'll just leave you with some dope-ass shows coming up this month that involve awesome black artists.

Bobby McFerrin

Bobby McFerrin Photograph: Carol Friedman

Bobby McFerrin and Questlove

Blue Note Jazz Festival. There's far more to Bobby McFerrin than that giddy a cappella hit with the video featuring Robin Williams and Bill Irwin, including collaborations with symphony orchestras, jazz titans and scientists. If you require further proof of the veteran vocalist's range, tonight's duo with hip-hop maven and eminent groove scholar Questlove ought to set you right. No word on exactly what to expect, but we're willing to bet that a healthy amount of improv will be in the mix.

  1. The Town Hall 123 W 43rd St, between Sixth Ave and Broadway
  2. Fri Jun 13
More info
Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin Photograph: Jon Klemm

Aretha Franklin

Note: These shows have been rescheduled. Tickets for Jan 17 will be honored on June 14, and tickets for Jan 18 will be honored on June 15. You just can't keep a good woman down. The Queen of Soul has had some health issues lately, but she's made a huge recovery and takes the stage tonight at Radio City. She recently started on a new album with veteran producers Don Was, Babyface and Clive Davis, wherein she'll touch on iconic works of a slew of superb songstresses. She quipped in a recent interview that she may even cover "Bootylicious."

  1. Radio City Music Hall 1260 Sixth Ave, at 50th St
  2. Sat June 14, Sun June 15
Buy tickets
Straight Line Stitch at the Afropunk Festival 2012

Straight Line Stitch at the Afropunk Festival 2012 Photograph: wagz2it

Afro-Punk Battle of the Bands

Every year Afro-Punk hosts a competition where the illest rockers of color go to show off their chops for a chance to be featured in the Annual Afro-Punk Fest! Now you get to rock out to these talented hopefuls, root for your favorite band and maybe even rally up the courage to join the mosh pit! No worries, either way you'll be able to jam to some of the dopest punks in the NYC, and that's a treat within itself.

  1. FreeCandy 905 Atlantic Ave, at St. James Pl, 11238
  2. Tue June 24–Fri June 27
Buy tickets
Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong International Music Festival

Just about 50 years ago, Louis Armstrong was driven from his home in Corona, NY, to the World's Fair in Queens. There, he played a(n apparently) legendary concert…one of the biggest before he passed away in 1971. The Louis Armstrong International Music Festival highlights this with a jazz-based but world-sourcing musical event that will—should you be into that kind of thing—knock you out of your metaphorical socks. It all takes place close to where the classic Armstrong concert occured, so be absolutely sure to head down there to soak up the vibe of a true American legend.

  1. Flushing Meadows–Corona Park 111th St to Van Wyck Expwy, between Flushing Bay and Grand Central Pkwy
  2. Sun Jun 29
More info


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