17 Feb Black Musicians to Listen to During Black History Month
February is Black History Month, celebrating a positive outlook on the strife, innovation, and achievements in black culture.
What truly shapes Black History Month, however, is music. From jazz artists such as Louis Armstrong, hip-hop pioneers like The Notorious B.I.G to Motown legends like Stevie Wonder, many Black musicians have paved the way for new, current, or rising artists today.
Here are several music artists you should stream and support to celebrate Black History Month this year!
You may have recognized this artist’s stellar “America The Beautiful” performance at the Super Bowl LV this month, but H.E.R. raised the bar for the R&B industry these past few years. With similarities and influences from classic artists Lauryn Hill and Brandy, H.E.R. is pushing the R&B sound forward through topics of love, heartbreak, and social justice.
The Grammy-winning artist (who hasn’t even released her debut album yet) garnered critical acclaim for her debut project “H.E.R.” in 2017. Her most notable songs are “Focus” and “Every Kind of Way.”
She recently released “Fight for You” for the new film “Judas and the Black Messiah” which is now in theaters and available on HBO Max.
The 25-year-old singer rose to the R&B limelight after featuring on Canadian rapper Drake’s “Chicago Freestyle” in 2020. Now he’s a Grammy-nominated artist with two extended plays, with praise for his baritone vocals.
His most popular song is “Like I Want You,” which is certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America.
The Massachusetts-based artist made her mark with her first EP, “Drive” in 2019, with the self-titled orchestral ballad appearing on the Netflix series “Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker” starring Octavia Spencer.
Her unique vocals are reminiscent of Amy Winehouse, but with a modern twist. Her most recent single “Pick A Side” remains in heavy radio rotation.
Riley has transformed from a polished “Glee” powerhouse to an empowering R&B solo artist. You may have watched her belt out in show choir performances on television, or perform as Effie White in the Broadway version of “Dreamgirls,” and now she returns under Riley.
The 35-year old artist released her debut extended play “Riley” in October, introducing her “big girl energy” to her fans and new listeners along the way.
The Philadelphia rapper is definitely an innovator. In 2018, releasing a 15-minute visual album “Whack World,” with each song lasting 1 minute, led Tierra Whack to XXL’s 2019 Freshman Class alongside Megah Thee Stallion, DaBaby, and Blueface.
Known for her eccentric aesthetics and delivery, Tierra Whack is becoming one of the most unique female hip-hop artists since Missy Elliott.
Jazmine Sullivan, 33, is a part of the R&B industry’s big leagues; in 2008, she created the anthem of all anthems for heartbreak, “Bust Your Windows.” Now, everyone’s practicing her challenging riffs and runs on TikTok.