The Asbury Park African-American Music Project (AP-AMP) Inc. celebrates the stories of Springwood Avenue in Asbury Park, New Jersey. 

A volunteer-run, community-driven project, we invite you to share your story and get involved.

June is African-American Music Appreciation Month

What’s Black Music or African American Music Appreciation Month?

Well, as the first two words define, Music made by Africans in the Americas. In the U.S. we tend to think of the music created by those who resided here but, not necessarily in the rest of the Americas. The music, of course has its roots in Africa. The music developed and created there was transported here by the enslaved brought here. We need to remember that Africa is a continent of many countries what says many ethnicities. Most of them with different traditional musical instruments and compositions. Listen to the harmonies of the South African sounds of Ladysmith Black Mambasa or Miriam Makeba. Or, listen to the sounds of North Africa, some call Arabic music. Many of those sounds came to be an integral part of the more contemporary music we are familiar with. Jazz, a completely American creation is spawned from Gospel and Blues musical forms. Similarly, the Rock ‘n Roll that some might equate with Rhythm ‘n Blues is another American creation that stands on the shoulders of its African ancestry. Many people believe Elvis Presley to be the King of Rock ‘n Roll but, if it weren’t for Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Little Richard and others, he wouldn’t have a genre to be King of. Or, it wouldn’t be what we know as Rock ‘n Roll. The Musical sounds and compositions of the Latino, Anglo and Franco Caribbean are an evolution of African sounds. This is not to say that Afro Americans are the only ones capable of creating or performing these genres well. It’s merely to say, that the Dismissed, Demeaned and continually Misrepresented African, was the Progenitor and inspiration of the music we are celebrating and discussing. As you look at other musical genres here in America, you’ll find Afro Americans, though perhaps not in the majority of that genre, are certainly capable and many times revered by their peers and fans. So, in this month try to listen for and look into what traditional sounds and songs come from Africa and how they’re intrinsically linked to American contemporary Music. The Music World lost many in the first six months of this year and we mourn for them All. I would not want to quantify pain, in any way but, a good number were a part of this African American Musical tradition; of that racial and ethnic type. Peace, Love and Blessings to All the Departed; Thanks for sharing Your Talent.

Charles Trott – Arts Educator/Visual Artist

African American Music Appreciation Month
Video by Charles Trott

NBC New York Live:
“Neighborhood Hot Spot: Asbury Park’s African American Music Project”

Thank you to everyone who joined us on June 21 for the official Launch Party for the Asbury Park African-American Music Project (AP-AMP) Inc.!

Special thanks to the Danny Clinch Transparent Gallery for hosting the event, and to the musicians who donated their time and talents!

And thank you to New Jersey Natural Gas for presenting us with a $5,000 Challenge Grant check!
Please click on “Donate” to help AP-AMP meet the match!

Photo credits for all images below: Conni Freestone

The mission of AP-AMP is to:

  • share the music, cultural heritage and stories of Springwood Avenue through oral histories, research, writing, and programs
  • develop accessible resources that reflect Asbury Park’s African American music heritage for the City of Asbury Park and others to use as a basis for interpretive heritage projects 
  • address a lack of representation in traditional historic resources and give voice to the stories of Asbury Park’s African American community
  • engage all who live in and visit Asbury Park in the active exploration, interpretation, understanding, and preservation of Asbury Park African American cultural heritage

You can find a few short videos that share some of these stories on YouTube: Asbury Park African American Music Heritage Project 

For more information, please email us: apaamhp@gmail.com

or write to us:
Asbury Park African-American Music Project Inc.
PO Box 485
Asbury Park, NJ 07712

Board of Directors:

Jennifer Souder
Yvonne Clayton
Kathleen Melgar
Melissa Keeling

Advisory Committee:

Charles Trott