We Celebrate The Sounds Of Culture

Hosted by  Makisha Noël | Special Guest: Marcus Collins
Written by Makisha Noël 
Graphic by  Brandon Castelo
Video Production by  Anthony O’Neal
July 2, 2020

African-American Music Appreciation Month is an annual celebration of African-American music in the United States. Initiated by President Jimmy Carter as Black Music Month who, June 7, 1979, it was decreed that June would be the month of black music.

The more you know, the more you grow! In honor of the richness that is our music, we sat down with the one and only Marcus Collins, who once ran digital strategy for Queen Bey. In addition to his culture-moving work with Beyonce, Marcus study the effects of cultural contagion on consumer behavior as a marketing professor at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan. He translates these cultural learnings for “blue-chip” brands that wish to create contagious marketing campaigns that extend across both the online and offline worlds of “social.” Throughout his career, he’s had the great privilege to be acknowledged for his strategic and creative contributions (Advertising Age's 40 Under 40 recipient, Clio award winner) and launch campaigns like “Cliff Paul” for State Farm, the Made In America Music Festival for Budweiser, ”Hello Brooklyn” for the Brooklyn Nets, and the Eggo + Netflix’s Stranger Things conquest.

The National Museum of African American History & Culture has curated a guide of different genres that African Americans have created, inspired and fostered:

Sacred Music

Sacred music, which includes spirituals and gospel music, illustrates the central role that music plays in African American spiritual and religious life. The earliest form of black musical expression in America, spirituals were based on Christian psalms and hymns and merged with African music styles and secular American music forms.

Folk Music

African American folk music links back to African cultural traditions. Stemming from field hollers, work chants and game songs, folk music bursts with social commentary. Popular folk protest music spread in the 1960s, and its influence is still found within hip-hop today.

The Blues

The blues form the foundation of contemporary American music. As did sacred and folk music, the blues also greatly influenced the cultural and social lives of African Americans. Geographically diverse incarnations of the blues arose in various regions, including the Mississippi Delta, Memphis, Chicago, Southern Texas.

Military Music

Beginning with the Revolutionary War, African Americans have always held a significant role in the armed services’ military band tradition. In the Revolutionary War and Civil War, African Americans served in fife and drum corps. Musicians that played in military bands during World War I and World War II often incorporated modern musical styles, such as jazz, into their song selections. They also toured the United States and Europe, entertaining civilian and military audiences alike.


Jazz evolved from ragtime, an American style of syncopated instrumental music. Jazz first materialized in New Orleans and is often distinguished by African American musical innovation. Multiple forms of the genre exist today, from the dance-oriented music of the 1920s big-band era to the experimental flair of modern avant-garde jazz.

Rhythm and Blues

The predecessor to soul music, R&B is another stylistically-diverse genre with roots in jazz, the blues and gospel music. R&B helped spread African American culture and popularized the idea of racial integration on the airwaves and in white society. Today’s iteration of the genre has assimilated soul and funk characteristics.

Rock and Roll

Rock 'n' roll music incorporates elements from all African American music genres and combines them with American pop and country music components. The genre was born in the 1950s and appealed to the rebellious yearnings of American youth culture.

Hip-Hop and Rap

Hip-Hop and rap are musical traditions firmly embedded in African American culture. Like jazz, hip-hop has become a global phenomenon and has exerted a driving force on the development of mass media. Hip-hop music spawned an entire cultural form, while rap remains a means for artists to voice opinions and share experiences regarding social and political issues.

Dig into this week’s podcast to learn about how the above genres have evolved over time and is injected into hip-hop culture. This week’s podcast not only celebrates the conclusion of Black Music Month but also discusses the very important, and often overlooked topic, Hip-Hop’s Influence on Advertising. 

Check out the podcast!

Bold. Fresh. Avant-garde. We are the culture. Join AfterNoon Agency for our weekly podcast serving the tea on trends shaping the marketing industry, elevating diverse voices, and the keys to making the world more equitable for underrepresented populations. The industry has had all day to get it right, so in this 13th hour, we will not be silent. Tune in for the smoke all summer!

Sponsored by the Marcus Graham Project, our weekly podcast, AfterNoons With is published on Spotify and Apple.