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Co-founder talks about creating Black Music Month

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — In an exclusive interview News 8’s Brittany Noble spoke with one of the co-founders of Black Music Month, Dyana Williams.

“The mother of Black Music Month” wrote letters, knocked on doors and made phone calls to make this special month a reality.

Williams, truly a powerhouse in the entertainment industry, has made a lasting imprint in broadcasting, the music world and celebrity media strategy. The radio legend knows all about Black music.

“It is a great cultural asset developed and born in our country by Black people, and I’m talking about spirituals, the blues, gospels, jazz.”

Williams along with Kenny Gamble, a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, and Ed Wright helped create June as Black Music Month. Williams says Gamble was inspired to establish the Black Music Association.  Williams and Gamble were a couple at the time and did most things, including having kids, together.

President Jimmy Carter and his family hosted the couple and Black musicians at the White House on June 6, 1979. “How many of you know what month this is? … Somebody said June … this is Black Music Month. …”

Noble asked Williams what she felt on that day with the president knowing that something so major was taking place. “It was spine-tingling to see members of the music industry along with the free world declaring June as Black Music Month.”

But, a reception was not enough for Williams. She kept advocating until a sitting president signed a proclamation honoring Black Music Month. “I went to Congress. I knocked on doors. I didn’t know anything about lobbying.”

Williams was there for the start of it all. Now, her company, Influence Entertainment, works with artists to master skills that can help their careers.

Williams’ final thought: “From the moment you wake up until you go to sleep at night, you, me, all of us are consuming Black music. In our doctor’s offices, in our cars, on TV, cable, everywhere. … Black music is present. It’s pervasive and extremely influential.”