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Black Music Appreciation month will get a special nod from ASCAP, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. The music industry leader announced May 18 that for their 2020 awards year, it will honor the songwriters and publishers behind its most performed songs of the past year with four virtual celebrations for ASCAP Pop, Screen, Latin and Rhythm & Soul Music Award winners.

Beginning in June and continuing through mid-July, the innovative format will, for the first time, allow more friends and fans to join the online festivities, with three days of dedicated content for each genre on ASCAP’s social media channels including live streamed performances, special celebrity appearances, winner spotlights and interviews. 

 The ASCAP Virtual Awards will take place on the following dates: 

• ASCAP Pop Music Awards: June 17 - 19

• ASCAP Screen Music Awards: June 23 - 25

• ASCAP Latin Music Awards: July 7 – 9

• ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Music Awards: July 15 - 17

"Our members are the heart and soul of ASCAP and every year we look forward to the chance to reunite in person and celebrate their outstanding contributions to music," said ASCAP Chairman of the Board and President Paul Williams. "Even though we can't be together ‘in real life’ this time, we are so excited to honor them virtually so that we can all connect and share our collective love of music. We invite music fans everywhere to join us in toasting their music and what their creative work adds to our lives.” 

The ASCAP Virtual Awards will feature exclusive photos, videos, acceptance speeches and more from some of ASCAP’s top members and publishers posted with the hashtag #ASCAPAwards to @ASCAP, @ASCAPScreen, @ASCAPUrban and @ASCAPLatino on Instagram as well as special programming as part of ASCAP Experience: Home Edition. Spotlight award show moments including Songwriter of the Year, Songwriter-Artist of the Year, Publisher of the Year, Independent Publisher of the Year and Song of the Year will remain major highlights during the online festivities. And ASCAP will unveil the winners of its annual Composers’ Choice Awards, which allow ASCAP composer members to vote for their top Film Score of the Year, TV Composer of the Year and Video Game Score of the Year.

 Specific times, winners and additional program details will be announced in the future.

 RECAP: 2019 ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Music Awards

“I have always said that our culture is our greatest asset...I am a proud product of it and a fearless protector of it.”

That quote, from Tip “T.I.” Harris’s acceptance speech for the inaugural ASCAP Voice of the Culture Award, eloquently captures the proud spirit of the urban music community. That spirit was on full display during the 2019 ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Awards, our celebration of the biggest ASCAP hip-hop, R&B and gospel music of the past year. 

T.I. was presented the award by political commentator and advocate Angela Rye, for the positive impact he has made through his music and philanthropy. And he was just one of the elite names on stage during the magical night. Reigning hip-hop queen Cardi B added an ASCAP Songwriter of the Year trophy to her long list of accolades - the first time the award has gone to a female rapper. Universal Music Publishing Group and Warner Chappell Music each received ASCAP Publisher of the Year Awards. Co-writers of Top Rap Song “Nice for What” and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Song “Boo’d Up” were on hand to pick up their awards; the inspirational anthem “Won’t He Do It” was named Top Gospel Song.

As always, the fiery live performances were highlights of the show. Up-and-coming R&B singer Nicole Bus opened the show with her new single “You,” and winning rapper-songwriter A Boogie Wit da Hoodie kept the vibe strong with his current hit "Look Back At It." Joelle James gave a stunning acoustic rendition of her hit "Boo'd Up," and capping off our presentations to the winning gospel songwriters, Jekalyn Carr took us heavenwards with her hit “You Will Win.”

The Rhythm & Soul Awards culminated with a 60th anniversary celebration of Motown Records. Renowned songwriter Valerie Simpson presented Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr. with the ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Heritage Award, in honor of his incalculable impact on music for the first three decades of Motown’s history. Quality Control CEOs Coach K and Pee helped us honor Motown President Ethiopia Habtemariam for her role in rejuvenating the proud Motown name, and bringing many of the biggest names in urban music into the Motown fold. The night ended with unforgettable tribute performances by Valerie Simpson, BJ the Chicago Kid and Ne-Yo - three world-class singer-songwriters representing Motown’s past, present and future. 

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a professional membership organization of songwriters, composers and music publishers of every kind of music. ASCAP's mission is to license and promote the music of its members and foreign affiliates, obtain fair compensation for the public performance of their works and to distribute the royalties that it collects based upon those performances. ASCAP members write the world's best-loved music and ASCAP has pioneered the efficient licensing of that music to hundreds of thousands of enterprises who use it to add value to their business - from bars, restaurants and retail, to radio, TV and cable, to Internet, mobile services and more. The ASCAP license offers an efficient solution for businesses to legally perform ASCAP music while respecting the right of songwriters and composers to be paid fairly. With more than 750,000 members representing more than 11.5 million copyrighted works, ASCAP is the worldwide leader in performance royalties, service and advocacy for songwriters and composers, and the only American performing rights organization (PRO) owned and governed by its writer and publisher members. Learn more and stay in touch at www.ascap.com, on Twitter and Instagram @ASCAP and on Facebook.

Ascap.com and Strategic Heights Media contributed to this report

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