Take a Ride Through Musical History for Black History Month

Black History Month, or National African-American History Month, is an yearly celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time for recognizing the important role of African-Americans, like Martin Luther King Jr. and Frederick Douglas, in U.S. history. To honor this special celebration of culture, this week we’re celebrating influential black musicians from different decades throughout the twentieth century.

Here’s a look at a few of the artists that will be featured:

  • The 50s: The Shirelles and Ray Charles came to fame during the early part of the Civil Rights Movement. The Shirelles were known as the iconic girl group of the time, while Ray Charles, a blind musician, was known for his lively performances and for pioneering the genre of soul by combining rhythm and blues, gospel, and blues styles.

  • The 60s: Aretha Franklin taught the whole world how to spell respect with her hit song “Respect” and musician/style icon Diana Ross launched her solo career record with the number one hit "Ain't No Mountain High Enough."

  • The 70s: Gladys Knight & The Pips reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 with hits like “The Midnight Train to Georgia,” and Marvin Gaye who brought us timeless soul and romance songs like “Sexual Healing.”

  • The 80s: The legendary superstars Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson gifted the world with classic hits like “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” and “Man in the Mirror,” respectively.

  • The 90s: Artists from soulful Seal (“Kiss from a Rose”) to empowering girl-power-pop group Destiny’s Child (“Say My Name”) defined the 90s, a decade jam-packed with variety (and acid-washed jeans, oof).

These artists are just a small taste of the great talent that will be featured on our decades radio stations, which will also include songs by Labelle, Barry White, Little Richard, and Prince & The Revolution.

Tune in to iHeart80s today and iHeart90s tomorrow from 11am-3pm EST for special programming dedicated to music’s most influential black artists of each decade and still today.

Banner image courtesy of Stan Honda / Getty Images
Thumbnail image courtesy of Jean-Pierre Muller / Getty Images