HR & Payroll News

Celebrating Juneteenth and Black Music Appreciation Month

This June, we proudly celebrate Black Music Appreciation Month by honoring the incredible impact that African American music has had and continues to have – on our country’s history.

President Jimmy Carter first designated June as Black Music Month in 1979. He established this national observance “to celebrate the African American musical influences that comprise an essential part of our nation’s treasured cultural heritage. However, a presidential proclamation was not officially signed until 2000. In 2009, President Barack Obama renamed the celebration from Black Music Month to African American Music Appreciation Month. (On May 31, 2022, President Joe Biden officially recognized it as Black Music Appreciation Month.)

For the entire month of June, we pay homage to the singers, composers, songwriters, and musical artists who have shaped American culture. These African American musicians have gone on to create and contribute to styles such as rhythm and blues, hip-hop, pop, jazz, rock, folk, and gospel.

Why June?

African-American Music Appreciation Month also coincides with Juneteenth, the longest-running African American holiday. Juneteenth marks the end of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865 (two and a half years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation), federal solders arrived in Galveston, Texas to announce that enslaved people were now free.

Juneteenth officially became a federal holiday on June 17, 2021. This year, it will be observed on Sunday, June 19 and Monday, June 20.


Music and Wellness

Listening to music (especially upbeat music) can take your mind off of stressors and help you feel more optimistic. An uplifting song can also bring the benefits of positive affect, which can empower you to notice more opportunities and seize them when you can," writes Elizabeth Scott, PhD. "Some happy songs practically force you to dance to them, and this type of exercise can be great for stress management, too!

Source: Music as a Health and Relaxation Aid

Musical Match-A-Thon: Director Edition!

Join HR & Payroll in celebrating Black Music Appreciation Month! Check out which song each of our directors submitted as their favorite song by a Black artist.

Directors (A-Z)Favorite Songs
Clifton Murray
Director of Talent Acquisition
Fugees, Killing Me Softly With His Song
Julie Hunt
Director of Classification and Compensation
Michael Jackson, Thriller
Michelle Lim
Assistant VP, HR Operations
Alicia Keys, Girl on Fire
Patricia Coray
Director of HR Information Systems (HRIS)
Janet Jackson, Control
Robyn Madar
Director of Organizational Development and Learning
Whitney Houston, I Wanna Dance With Somebody
Shernita Rochelle Parker
Assistant VP, HR Strategy and Talent Management
Prince, 1999
Sonya Howell
Director of Payroll
Pharrell Williams, Happy

Thanks to all those who participated!


Celebrating Black Music Month. National Museum of African American History and Culture. Smithsonian, June 4, 2019.