The annual celebration encourages us to honour black people and recognise their significant contributions to history, a key contributor being their extraordinary influence on the music industry.

Whether you focus on Jimi Hendrix or Aretha Franklin, there's no denying their music continues to influence artists as the years go by. We took a dive into the history of music to identify just a few of our favourite black artists (in no particular order!). Find out if your favourite is on the list!

Aretha Franklin performing in Chicago in 2018 / Photo Credit: Chicago Tribune/TNS/ABACA/PA ImagesAretha Franklin performing in Chicago in 2018 / Photo Credit: Chicago Tribune/TNS/ABACA/PA Images


A stranger to nobody, Prince and his wide vocal range arose and took the 80s by storm. He's a legend in his own right who worked across various genres and created the iconic Purple Rain; the stellar hit and movie that would go on to define the generations that followed. 

Aretha Franklin

The title Queen of Soul defines itself. An activist for civil and women rights, Aretha Franklin and her song Respect became an anthem for progression towards social change. Her colossal impact on the soul genre is unmatched. 

Jimi Hendrix

Hendrix began playing guitar at the age of 15, and little did he know that he would go on to become one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of music and achieve three UK top ten hits: Hey Joe, Purple Haze and The Wind Cries Mary. He pushed the boundaries of the rock and roll genre and transformed it completely. 

Stevie Wonder

A child prodigy, at just 13 Wonder topped the Billboard Hot 100 charts with his hit Fingertips, making him the youngest artist ever to top the chart. What makes his success in the music industry all the more incredible is his ability to write, produce, sing and play a variety of instruments despite the fact that he lost his sight completely as a child   

Nina Simone

An advocate for racial equality, Nina Simone's music not only impacted the music world but also culture in general. An enigma of a woman, her music spanned through a range of genres including jazz, blues, folk, gospel and pop. Throughout her career she recorded 40+ albums, her debut being Little Girl Blue, which featured the hit I Loves You, Porgy

This October we're celebrating Black History Month by pressing play on the songs that epitomise black excellence. Make sure to check out our playlist below! Plus, if you enjoyed this, take a look at our celebration of the 10 black female artists who shaped pop music.