Georgiary Bledsoe

Courtesy of Carole Boston Weatherford

When President Jimmy Carter declared June Black Music Month, the White House hosted performers ranging from gospel singer Aundre Crouch to disco star Evelyn Champagne King. But the holiday was masterminded by the Black Music Association, a group of record executives, who were focused more on mobilizing the economic power of black music than celebrating its artists. Things have changed since then.

A headshot of Georgiary Bledsoe
Courtesy of Georgiary Bledsoe

From an early age, Georgiary Bledsoe aspired to a life beyond what she knew as a child. She is the youngest of 17 siblings and grew up very poor in East Saint Louis, Illinois, a city often considered one of the most dangerous in America.