Music is a field which has been constantly evolving since time immemorial. The rich history of American music has witnessed several significant changes over the past few centuries. Many individuals of African American descent have made waves in the recent past for their prowess in music and have earned many accolades including prestigious awards for their efforts. The most popular example would probably be the king of pop Michael Jackson, who revolutionized world music with his style. His tracks such as ‘Beat It’, ‘Thriller’, ‘Billie Jean’ and ‘Black or White’ are anthems among the youth even today. Michael, or MJ as he’s popularly known, is a recipient of 13 Grammy awards. He has also been felicitated with 26 American music Awards for his incredible talent. Many of his songs have topped the ‘Billboard Hot 100’ charts. The legendary Ray Charles is another legendary musician who has millions of followers worldwide. He was also mentioned in the list of ‘100 Greatest Artists of All Time’, published by the ‘Rolling Stones’ magazine. Stevie Wonder, Jimi Hendrix, Whitney Houston, Beyonce and Nina Simone are a few other African American singers who have made their community proud. Some of these singers also enjoy a major fan following on social media platforms as well. Scroll below to know the names of singers of African American descent who have changed world music in a great way. Some of their works have influenced many famous singers of today.
Michael JacksonMichael Jackson
29 August 1958, American
Singer
Kanye WestKanye West
08 June 1977, American
Rapper, Singer-Songwriter, Record Producer

Will SmithWill Smith
25 September 1968, American
Actor

Tupac ShakurTupac Shakur
16 June 1971, American
Rapper

Whitney HoustonWhitney Houston
09 August 1963, American
Singer

Snoop DoggSnoop Dogg
20 October 1971, American
Actor
PrincePrince
07 June 1958, American
Singer

Lenny KravitzLenny Kravitz
26 May 1964, American
Musician

Jimi HendrixJimi Hendrix
27 November 1942, American
Singer & Musician
The Notorious B.I.G.The Notorious B.I.G.
21 May 1972, American
Rapper

Tina TurnerTina Turner
26 November 1939, American
Singer
AaliyahAaliyah
16 January 1979, American
American singer

Dr. DreDr. Dre
18 February 1965, American
American rapper, record producer, and entrepreneur

Quincy JonesQuincy Jones
14 March 1933, American
Musician, Conductor, Producer, Arranger, Composer,

Ice CubeIce Cube
15 June 1969, American
Rapper

Stevie WonderStevie Wonder
13 May 1950, American
Singer-songwriter
James BrownJames Brown
03 May 1933, American
Musician, recording artist, producer, dancer,

NellyNelly
02 November 1974, American
Rapper, Singer, Songwriter

Marvin GayeMarvin Gaye
02 April 1939, American
Singer, Musician

Janet JacksonJanet Jackson
16 May 1966, American
Singer-Songwriter
CiaraCiara
25 October 1985, American
Singer

Bessie SmithBessie Smith
15 April 1894, American
Singer
Lauryn HillLauryn Hill
26 May 1975, American
Singer-songwriter

Ray CharlesRay Charles
23 September 1930, American
Singer-songwriter

Aretha FranklinAretha Franklin
25 March 1942, American
Singer
Louis ArmstrongLouis Armstrong
04 August 1901, American
Trumpeter

Queen LatifahQueen Latifah
18 March 1970, American
Rapper
Nat King ColeNat King Cole
17 March 1919, American
Vocalist, Pianist

Nina SimoneNina Simone
21 February 1933, American
Singer-songwriter, Composer

Chuck BerryChuck Berry
18 October 1926, American
Guitarist
Josephine BakerJosephine Baker
03 June 1906, French
Dancer

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LudacrisLudacris
11 September 1977, American
 
Otis ReddingOtis Redding
09 September 1941, American
Singer

Smokey RobinsonSmokey Robinson
19 February 1940, American
Singer

Duke EllingtonDuke Ellington
29 April 1899, American
Composer, Pianist and Bandleader

Robert JohnsonRobert Johnson
08 May 1911, American
Singer
John ColtraneJohn Coltrane
23 September 1926, American
Saxophonist, Composer
Missy ElliottMissy Elliott
01 July 1971, American
Rapper

Ja RuleJa Rule
29 February 1976, American
 

Lena HorneLena Horne
30 June 1917, American
Singer

Cab CallowayCab Calloway
25 December 1907, American
Singer
Thelonious MonkThelonious Monk
10 October 1917, American
Jazz Pianist & Composer

Orlando BrownOrlando Brown
04 December 1987, American
Actor, Voice Actor, Singer

CoolioCoolio
01 August 1963, American
Rapper, Actor, Record Producer, Chef

Paul RobesonPaul Robeson
09 April 1898, American
Singer, Actor & Civil Rights Activist

Ben HarperBen Harper
28 October 1969, American
 
Scott JoplinScott Joplin
24 November 1868, American
Composer and Pianist

Dizzy GillespieDizzy Gillespie
21 October 1917, American
Bandleader
Charles MingusCharles Mingus
22 April 1922, American
Jazz Musician

Chuck DChuck D
01 August 1960, American
Rapper

Marian AndersonMarian Anderson
27 February 1897, American
Singer
Jay-ZJay-Z
04 December 1969, American
Rapper

Aaron NevilleAaron Neville
24 January 1941, American
Singer & Musician
Jessica DimeJessica Dime
27 January 1986, American
Rapper

Charley PrideCharley Pride
18 March 1934, American
Singer

Busta RhymesBusta Rhymes
20 May 1972, American
Rapper

CommonCommon
13 March 1972, American
Rapper

OffsetOffset
14 December 1991, American
Rapper
DMXDMX
18 December 1970, American
Rapper

André 3000André 3000
27 May 1975, American
Rapper

Donna SummerDonna Summer
31 December 1948, American
Singer-Songwriter

Marques HoustonMarques Houston
04 August 1981, American
Singer
Isaac HayesIsaac Hayes
20 August 1942, American
Singer-songwriter

Mos DefMos Def
11 December 1973, American
Singer, Actor, Songwriter, Singer-songwriter,
Anderson PaakAnderson Paak
08 February 1986, American
Singer

Ike TurnerIke Turner
05 November 1931, American
Guitarist, Pianist, Actor, Singer-songwriter,

Master PMaster P
29 April 1970, American
Rapper
Leon BridgesLeon Bridges
13 July 1989, American
Singer-songwriter

Leon RobinsonLeon Robinson
08 March 1962, American
Actor
Billy PorterBilly Porter
21 September 1969, American
Singer

Gladys KnightGladys Knight
28 May 1944, American
Singer-Songwriter

Victoria MonetVictoria Monet
01 May 1993, American
Singer-songwriter
MonicaMonica
24 October 1980, American
Singer

Herbie HancockHerbie Hancock
12 April 1940, American
Singer-songwriter, Bandleader, Conductor, Jazz
Bobby WomackBobby Womack
04 March 1944, American
Singer

Jill ScottJill Scott
04 April 1972, American
Singer-songwriter

Alex NewellAlex Newell
20 August 1992, American
Actor

E-40E-40
15 November 1967, American
Rapper
Big BoiBig Boi
01 February 1975, American
Rapper
Big LBig L
30 May 1974, American
Rapper

D'AngeloD'Angelo
11 February 1974, American
Singer-songwriter

Al B. Sure!Al B. Sure!
04 June 1968, American
Singer-songwriter

Otis WilliamsOtis Williams
30 October 1941, American
Baritone Singers
Lupe FiascoLupe Fiasco
16 February 1982, American
Rapper

Black ThoughtBlack Thought
03 October 1971, American
Rapper

Joy VillaJoy Villa
25 April 1991, American
Singer-Songwriter

Gloria JonesGloria Jones
19 October 1945, American
Singer-songwriter

Sly StoneSly Stone
15 March 1943, American
Musician
Sister Rosetta TharpeSister Rosetta Tharpe
20 March 1915, American
Singer

Howlin' WolfHowlin' Wolf
10 June 1910, American
Singer
Bo DiddleyBo Diddley
30 December 1928, American
Guitarist, Singer, Singer-songwriter, Composer

Andra DayAndra Day
30 December 1984, American
Singer-songwriter
Amanda SealesAmanda Seales
01 July 1981, American
Comedian
Ken PageKen Page
20 January 1954, American
Actor