Top 10 African-American Musicians

Top 10 African-American Musicians


Black History month is in February. Black History month is an annual celebratory month and a powerful reminder of African-American history.

There are so many powerful African-Americans throughout America’s history. Though there were times where they were not treated fairly, they pushed through it and to this day they have impacted so much of the culture. The music we listen to, the clothes we wear, etc… Music often has a powerful impact on people. Music has the impact to make people fall in love, get up and dance, and sing your heart out. And all of these next 10 artists have had an impact on music and I think their recognition to the world is well deserved. 

  1. Michael Jackson (1958-2009)

Often considered the King of Pop, the man had a chart topping career, both solo and with the Jackson 5. He had such an impact in the music industry and still has an impact today. His career is not without controversy, however Michael is one of the most known artists of all time and his influence is undeniable. 

  1. Stevie Wonder (1950-Alive)

Stevie Wonder is a wonder of this world. He is a blind genius. His talent is incredible and when you consider his blindness it makes him an inspiration! He has a whopping 25 grammys which makes him number 6th of all time grammy winners. He continues to make music and show off his wonderful talent to the world. 

  1. Bob Marley (1945-1981)

He revolutionized the genre of reggae. Often considered a pioneer his hybrid of soft rock and reggae made him the superstar he is today. His music brought smiles to peoples faces. He sang of politics and racism. His music was also very much spiritual and promoted peace, love, and joy. 

  1. Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970)

The highly talented Jimi Hendrix had a life cut short at the age of 27, due to asphyxia caused by drugs. His mainstream music career only spanned for 4 years, but still widely regarded as one of the best electric guitarists in history. Some even take it as far to say he changed rock music forever. 

  1. Louis Armstrong (1901-1971)

Louis Armstrong’s trumpet playing revolutionized the genre of Jazz. He became one of the world’s most recognizable entertainers. His hit “What a Wonderful World” also has had an impact on people’s lives. Though the song didn’t do well on the billboard charts, his song still had an impact and the song is widely popular to this day. 

  1. Aretha Franklin (1942-2018)

She was the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, she also was awarded the presidential medal of honor. She blended R&B with gospel music, which then turned into soul music. That is where she got the title “Queen of Soul”. She used the mixed genres and her powerful tone and voice to fight for equality and liberation for African-American women. 

  1. Beyonce (1981-Alive)

From being the lead singer of the R&B/Pop group, Destiny’s Child, to being one of the most powerful and well known female artists. She is a great singer and dancer. Along with all of those accomplishments, she changed pop music in general. Like Bob Marley and Aretha Franklin, she mixed different genres of music to make a new sound. Her husband, JAY-Z also has a big influence on his genre of music, Rap. 

  1. Ray Charles (1930-2004)

Another very talented and blind artist on this list. His talent in playing the piano and singing left an impression on the music industry, and probably Stevie Wonder. He is credited for the early development of soul music. In the beginning of his career he opened the door to more gospel music being played on the radio. He also had an impact on the Civil rights movement. He refused to play in front of a segregated audience anytime after 1963.

  1. Kanye West (1977-Alive)

Ye, commonly known as Kanye West, has had one of the most impacts on rap music. Starting his music career producing for JAY-Z in the mid to late 1990’s, to being one of the most known rappers out there. Kanye dropped out of college in 2004 to start his own music career. Now everyone knows his name. His lyrics are powerful, funny, and sometimes sad. He has had such an impact on future artists. Some have even admitted to it.

  1. Whitney Houston (1963-2012)

Though she is the last person on this list, she still is one of the best artists. Her life was cut short due to a drug overdose. It’s sad. She had so much potential, being that she was a great artist. She is the only artist in history to have 7 consecutive No. 1 hits. 3 of those on her debut album. “I Will Always Love You”, her most popular song, topped the billboard top 100 for 14 weeks, a record for a female artist, only shared by Miriah Carey. 

Honorable Mentions: Sam Cooke, Smokey Robison, Run DMC, Otis Redding, NWA, James Brown, Prince…