Broward College Celebrates African-American Music Appreciation Month

June 26, 2014 | Did You Know



From gospel and soul to the blues, Broward College is honoring the contributions of African-American performers, composers and musicians who have changed and reinvented our nation with their powerful words and unique voices. In observance of African-American Music Appreciation month, which is celebrated in June, music professors Louis Abbott, Ph.D., and Jason Hainsworth have created a list of some of the most influential and significant artists from the past 100 years:

1910 – 1920

  • Bert Williams was the first major African-American entertainer and a best-selling recording artist.
  • Bessie Smith, the “Empress of the Blues,” was regarded as one of the greatest singers of her era.

1921 – 1930

  • Louis Armstrong set the standard for jazz musicians and was also the first African-American global superstar to tour the world with his bands.
  • Ethel Waters was a singer and actress on Broadway, the radio and movies.

1931 – 1940

  • Duke Ellington, “America’s Greatest Composer,” was also a pianist and bandleader, who wrote more than 100 compositions. After his band made a historic performance at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1956, Ellington was placed on the cover of Time magazine, which was a rarity for musicians, not to mention African-Americans, during this period.
  • Billie Holiday, “Lady Day,” became the template for future female pop and jazz singers.

1941 – 1950

  • Count Basie was a jazz pianist, bandleader, and composer whose particular style influenced both rhythm and blues, as well as rock and roll.
  • Lena Horne was an influential singer, dancer, and a style icon, and also a civil rights activist who participated in the March of Washington in 1963.

1951 – 1960

  • Miles Davis was a dominant jazz musician of the modern to post-modern era, who was known to be the founder of the “Cool Jazz” period between 1955 and 1961, as well as the Fusion Jazz movement. A constant innovator, he continued changing the music world up until his death.
  • Sarah Vaughn was an influential modern pop and jazz vocalist who won the prestigious NEA Jazz Masters Award.

1961 – 1970

  • Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson are the co-founders of Motown Records, the largest African-American owned company of the 1960s.
  • Aretha Franklin, the “Queen of Soul,” has won 18 Grammy Awards and was the first female performer to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

1971 – 1980

  • B.B. King is a blues musician, singer, songwriter and guitarist, who was ranked by Rolling Stone as one of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time.
  • Diana Ross is the founding member of the Supremes who made it possible for future African-American acts to break into the mainstream. She was also a successful solo artist.

1981 – 1990

  • Michael Jackson, the “King of Pop,” was a global figure in popular culture for more than four decades.
  • Whitney Houston was a singer, actress and model, with a landmark gospel meets pop sound. She is the only artist to have seven consecutive No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hits.

1991 – 2000

  • Tupac Shakur was a hip hop innovator with 75 million records sold.
  • Mariah Carey is an R&B singer and actress, who is predicted to top all chart records, surpassing both Elvis Presley and The Beatles.

2001 – 2010

  • Darius Rucker is the first African-American country singer to chart No. 1 since 1983 and the first African-American to win the New Artist Award from the Country Music Association.
  • Terry Lynn Carrington is the drummer for Herbie Hancock and other stars, as well as a professor at Berklee College of Music.

2011 – 2014

  • Beyoncé was selected by Time magazine as one of the most influential persons on the planet and sold over 118 million records as a solo artist, which makes her one of the best-selling music artists of all-time.
  • Kanye West is also one of Time’s most influential people. He has sold more than 87 million records and won a total of 21 Grammy Awards, which makes him one of the most awarded artists of all-time.

Stay tuned for upcoming performance events from the Broward College Office of Cultural Affairs (B.SOCA) and Bailey Hall.

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