For nearly 30 years, June has officially been recognized as Black Music Month. Former President Jimmy Carter first proclaimed the 30-day celebration in 1979, and President George W. Bush continues to uphold the honor.
In a May 31 proclamation, Bush noted the significance music from Blacks has played throughout American history. "When facing the cruelty of slavery and injustice, African Americans lifted spirituals to the heavens, bringing comfort to troubled souls," Bush said. "These timeless declarations of hope and faith evolved into the more modern genres of gospel, blues, ragtime, and jazz, and they are given voice in the musical genius of Scott Joplin, Marian Anderson, Eubie Blake, and Mahalia Jackson."
Yahoo! Music also acknowledges the contributions Blacks have made to music and has polled two dozen prominent artists including Janet Jackson, Patti LaBelle, Akon, Missy Elliott and Mario on the songs from Black Music history that have inspired them.
Be sure to check back with us throughout the month to find out the impact the likes of Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin and Donny Hathaway have had on some of your favorite artists of today. Tell us your favorites in a variety of categories ranging from best performer to best R&B group. Listen to our Black Music Month radio station and view our photo gallery.
Below, Rihanna pays homage to Bob Marley, performing his classic "Redemption Song."
Photo Gallery - View more than 100 images of pioneers in Black Music.