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The Past, Present, and Future of Great Black Music

Black History Month has come around again, so why not highlight some amazing black musicians?

When thinking about Black History Month, it's always about the firsts, the people who paved the way for newer generations, but we don't always talk about who those more recent generations are. How were they influenced, and who inspired them?

In music, there are plenty of noteworthy black musicians who made history.

Michael Jackson

Famously known as the "King of Pop," Michael Jackson was raised in the music industry performing in a family group, The Jackson Five. Eventually, he went solo, where he reached international stardom.

Aretha Franklin

Commonly referred to as the "Queen of Soul," Aretha Franklin's most popular songs include "Respect" and "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman." Her most significant accomplishments include receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom and becoming the first female artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Diana Ross

She rose to fame as the lead singer of the Supremes, a successful Motown group. Her work has inspired many and has warranted two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a rare occurrence.

Whitney Houston

A New Jersey native, Whitney Houston has influenced generations of singers with classics like "I Will Always Love You" and "It's Not Alright But It's Okay." She has won countless awards for her work.

Billie Holiday

She is best known for her unique voice and emotional performances. Her most famous song is "Strange Fruit." She was eventually inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Ella Fitzgerald

She is one of the most famous Jazz singers and is remembered for her scat singing. She is also known as "The First Lady of Song."

Louis Armstrong

Some of his most famous songs include "What a Wonderful World," "La Vie en Rose," and "Dream A Little Dream of Me." His instantly recognizable voice has made him a signature in jazz music.


Prince is best known for his androgynous style and persona, high-pitched voice, and ability to play multiple instruments. One of his most famous songs is "Purple Rain."

Inspired by those who paved the way, some fantastic modern musicians' are creating amazing songs that are constantly playing on the radio and streaming through our air pods.


She is a singer, rapper, and classically trained flutist. She has numerous catchy songs, such as "Juice" and "Truth Hurts." Through her music and celebrity platform, she advocates for body positivity.


She rose to fame as a member of the R&B girl group Destiny's Child. Eventually, she started her solo career with countless chart-topping songs such as "Crazy in Love," "Single Ladies," and "Formation." She is a big advocate for feminism and black pride.

Lil Nas X

He rose to stardom with his country rap song "Old Town Road" and its multiple remixes. His debut album, Montero, was a huge success. He is an advocate and member of the LGBTQ community.

John Legend

He is an award-winning singer, songwriter, pianist, and record producer. He is the first black man to win an EGOT. His most famous songs include "Ordinary People" and "All of Me."

Lil Wayne

He is a grammy winning rapper, singer, songwriter, and record executive. He founded the Young Money Entertainment record label. Some of his most famous songs include "How To Love," "Lollipop," and 6 Foot 7 Foot."

Nicki Minaj

She is a renowned rapper and singer best known for her musical versatility, alter egos, and accents. Some of her most famous songs include "Anaconda," "Starships," "Super Bass," and "Bees in the Trap."

Then there's the future of black musicians, hardworking artists who put in daily efforts with the goal of making musical history one day.

Jay Valeyo

He is a pop musician influenced by rock and hip-hop who performs all over New Jersey and plays multiple instruments. His most popular songs include "Favorite" and "Wrong One." He is an avid mental health advocate.

King Trippy

He is a hip-hop musician with an eclectic sense of style. His most popular songs include "Who" and "Demon Time" from his latest album Sunshine City. He promotes anti-racism.


He is a musician and small businessman who organizes and promotes events for Jersey-based artists. His most popular songs include "Valhalla" and "Dressed on Black."


He is a hip-hop musician who started his own record label, Corner of the World Records. His most recent album, The American Dream 3, included hits such as "Flacko 2" and "Hate it or Love it."

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