Things to Do

5 Concerts to Check Out During Black Music Month

Celebrate with artists like Lauryn Hill, Bartees Strange, and Larry June.

Photograph courtesy of RCA Records.

June is Black Music Month, which was founded by President Jimmy Carter in 1979 to honor the contributions of Black musicians.

“During Black Music Month, we pay homage to legends of American music, who have composed the soundtrack of American life,” reads this year’s annual proclamation of the month-long celebration from President Biden. “Their creativity has given rise to distinctly American art forms that influence contemporary music worldwide and sing to the soul of the American experience.”

There are several opportunities to appreciate historically Black music—like hip-hop, rap, and R&B—around DC during Black Music Month. Here’s are five shows to check out nearby this June. 


Lauryn Hill

Wolf Trap | June 9

Hill’s performance celebrates the 25th anniversary of her album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, which Rolling Stone has named one of the greatest albums of all time. No official guests have been announced, but fingers crossed that artists featured on the album like Mary J. Blige or D’Angelo make an appearance. (Filene Center, 1551 Trap Road, Vienna; $241+)



Merriweather Post Pavilion | June 16-June 18

This new cross-country concert series makes its stop in the DC area this month. There will be three days of live music at Merriweather Post Pavilion featuring DC’s own genre-bending Bartees Strange. Indie-rock supergroup Boygenius will share headlining duties with Steve Lacy and LCD Soundsystem, too. (10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy., Columbia; $100+)


Gladys Knight

The Theater at MGM National Harbor | June 22

Prepare your vocal chords for a night of rhythm and blues with the “Empress of Soul.” The multiple Grammy winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member will be at National Harbor for one night amidst her country-wide summer tour. (101 MGM National Ave., Oxon Hill; $68+)


The Set: A R&B Experience

Howard Theatre | June 23

The Set is a touring R&B party hosted by rhythm-and-blues fans that’s coming to DC this month. Expect multiple R&B DJs throughout the night at Howard Theatre. (620 T St., NW; $15+)


Larry June

The Fillmore | June 26-27

Fusing the laid-back nature of the West Coast and the gritty sounds of the South, the rapper Larry June is bringing his prolific flow to Washington at The Fillmore after shows across the country. He’ll play on both June 26 and 27. (8656 Colesville Rd, Silver Spring; $39.50+)

Essence Wiley
Editorial Fellow