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#BackChannel: Celebrating Black Music And Honoring 'The Greatest'

In 2009, President Obama declared June "African-American Music Appreciation Month." The tribute started as "Black Music Month" in the 1970s. While the name has changed, it continues to be a time to celebrate the ways black artists have shaped music. These artists include three people who have recently died; Prince, Billy Paul and Phife Dawg. They each left a dynamic legacy in different genres.

Host Frank Stasio talks with pop culture experts Natalie Bullock Brown, professor of film and broadcast media at St. Augustine's University, and Mark Anthony Neal, professor of African & African American studies at Duke University, about the political implications behind "African-American Music Appreciation Month," and they remember "The Greatest," Muhammad Ali.

Check out some of the music featured in this program:

Billy Paul, "Me and Mrs. Jones"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWOTdt9Bovk

Billy Paul, "Am I Black Enough For You?"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eX6k5tRzDuU

Prince, "When Will We B Paid"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCfqrY-p2RE

Prince, "Baltimore"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cieZB0Ab7xk

A Tribe Called Quest, "Oh My God"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIah18jcJko

Charlie Shelton-Ormond is a podcast producer for WUNC. His fascination for audio storytelling and radio journalism began as a broadcast major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He began his career as a reporter for Carolina Connection, UNC’s student-led radio news show, where Charlie’s work won multiple Hearst Journalism Awards.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.