Music is a strong force that has helped most black communities, both in Africa and the diaspora, to preserve their culture for several centuries. For example, the Maroons of the Caribbean were able to keep their African culture though not on the continent using music as a tool.
Black musicians have proven that they are a force to reckon with on the global music stage winning countless awards and having some of the most scintillating performances man will ever see. We could hardly list all the great black musicians to perform over the last few decades but we have tried to bring you 5 whom we believe have been really iconic.
Though he is late, he is still one of the most famous black musicians of all time. He attained this status not because of his political voice and run-ins with the government, not disputing that this was a factor. But he was first recognized for his mind-blowing stage performances that kept crowds spellbound for hours.
The afrobeat maestro, popularly known as the Father of Afrobeat, had a unique style of engaging the audience, playing several instruments including the saxophone, trumpets, and piano. His killer dance moves are still difficult to imitate till date and he would always turn a concert to a huge African cultural jamboree.
Celia Cruz is one of the biggest names in the history of Afro-Latina and Cuban music. She achieved almost everything there was from winning Grammys to getting her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and appearing in movies. She even performed privately for several elites and even country presidents. Her performances were usually colorful and well planned, a few of them came with theatrical shows and dances.
Popularly referred to as the “Prince of Pop,” Jackson was a phenomenon. Even without his mesmerizing voice and numerous awards, his stage performances were still a delight to watch for any crowd. Just by standing still or a slight twitch of his body he could get a mammoth crowd screaming beyond their wits. He sometimes remixed his songs to fit dance routines and his one-man shows were nothing short of amazing. He is undoubtedly one of the greatest of all time.
She says one of her greatest inspirations of all time was Michael Jackson, no wonder she joined him on this list as one of the greatest black performers ever. She is known to dedicate a month to rehearsing for a stage performance, all of which are directed at celebrating Afro-American culture and being a woman. Her style of bringing you her songs with magnificent dance routines could make you feel you have never heard those songs before. Her performance at the 2018 Coachella goes down in history as one of the greatest ever.
Bob Marley, the “Father of Reggae Music,” is another royalty on this elite list. He didn’t just put reggae on the global music map, he thrilled whole concerts and cities alongside. He could make a person who never liked reggae begin swaying to his songs in just a few minutes. His ensemble and female dancers were part of what made his performances special.