"Black Music Month"

The Michigan Frontpage

When many of us think of Black Music Month, we recall the great days in Detroit when the Motown Records' assembly line was putting together hit after hit. The music helped to propel us past the challenges that we faced such social injustice. But this past week many of us learned and others were reminded that Detroit musical legacy did, n't stop with The Temptations, the Supremes, or Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. It didn't stop with Anita Baker, either. The Electronic Festival participants and their one million fans that converged on Hart Plaza told us that our area has some of the world's most creative and innovative people. While Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson may not be household names in all local circles, both are internationally recognized artists. In some ways their careers parallel musical expatriots like Jospehine Baker and saxophonist Dexter Gordon. As some of us know, these Americans left our country during the 1940s, 50s and 60s for Europe. While residing in Paris, Amsterdam and London, these people, many of whom were African American were allowed to create and to live in a climate that was less race conscious. Later this month, we'll have another opportunity to see more of our homegrown musical talent when Fred Hammond Will headline a group of gospel music's top-selling artists. The Grammy Award recipient will join more than 30 singers, dancers, rappers and comedians who will perform at the ninth annual Farmer Jack Praisefest featuring the McDonald's GospelFest. The free, three-day family- oriented, non-alcoholic event will be held at Detroit's Hart Plaza June 9-11, 2000. Event hour& are Friday noon to 11 p.m., Saturday 2 to 11 p.m., and Sunday 2 to 10 p.m. As we celebrate Black Music Month, not only recall Detroit's fine musical past, but also recognize and embrace our exciting future.