Aretha Franklin celebrates Black Music Month

'R&B is in good hands,' she writes in essay

NEW YORK -- An essay from Aretha Franklin, an Earth Wind & Fire tribute from Mint Condition and blog posts from rapper YoYo are among the featured elements of's Black Music Month celebration.

In her essay, which goes live June 15, Franklin expresses her enthusiasm with the state of modern R&B.

"At one point, I was very concerned when the hip-hoppers came in about the future of R&B," she wrote, "But now with artists like Usher, Anthony Hamilton, Fantasia, Chris Brown, Raheem DeVaughn, Erykah Badu and artists like that let me know that R&B is in good hands, absolutely alive and well and mega-watt." is also hosting a "best album of all time" online vote, quizzes and interactive profiles of the biggest names in black music.

Said Franklin in conclusion, "Black Music Month really serves to remind us of what a really rich musical heritage and legacy we have that has been passed on -- in more than generous measure -- to our generation and the younger generation by yesteryear's artists such as Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald, Sam Cooke, Ruth Brown, the Clovers, Jackie Wilson, Johnny Taylor, Clyde McPhatter, the Moonglows, Hank Ballard and the Midnighters and the Drifters. So keep on doing it and keep on representing."