As October symbolises the start of Black History Month in the UK; we take a look at some of the most influential black musicians of all time.
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 Images
Radiohead, Kate Bush, Depeche Mode and Eurythmics among those who miss the cut this year, however.
On Wednesday (December 13th), the Cleveland-based institution announced its list of five inductees for its annual ceremony next spring. It consisted of rock heroes Dire Straits and Bon Jovi, new-wave group The Cars, Sixties icons The Moody Blues and the legendary late R&B singer Nina Simone.
On top of this, the little-known but highly influential figure of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, sometimes dubbed ‘the godmother of rock’n’roll’, is also to be inducted with a special Early Influences award.
Who will be immortalised in the famous Hall of Fame next year?
It's that time of year again where rock fans have the difficult decision of voting on the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ballot for 2018, this year picking from nineteen amazing candidates including Bon Jovi, Radiohead, LL Cool J and Nina Simone. Truly spoilt for choice.
Bon Jovi performing live
Fans can sign up and vote for up to five candidates on the induction ballot, including the newly eligible Rage Against The Machine and Radiohead. Plus, another seven of the nominees are up for induction for the very first time while the likes of J. Geils Band and LL Cool J face their fifth and fourth nominations respectively.
Jeff Lieberman, who directed last year's 'The Amazing Miss Simone', wrote a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter criticising the upcoming biopic 'Nina'.
The controversy surrounding the casting of Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone in an upcoming biopic rages on, with the director of a previous documentary about the singer reacting to the distributor’s recent defence of the movie, saying that “not every actor can play every role”.
Jeff L. Lieberman, who directed 2015 documentary The Amazing Nina Simone, wrote a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter and criticised not just the casting of Saldana, but also the tone and content of the script as “ugly and inaccurate”.
Nina, set for release in the US on April 22nd, has come under heavy fire from fans of the legendary singer, as the movie’s producers appear to have used prosthetics and makeup to make 37 year old Saldana more closely resemble Simone. Lieberman added his voice to this, saying the decision to do so was tone-deaf of the “horrible history of this type of portrayal”.
Her family and associates are less than happy with the casting choice for 'Nina'.
If there's one thing that never needs to rear its head in Hollywood again, it's blackface. But it seems that no-one told the crew of the new Nina Simone biopic 'Nina', because that's reportedly what they've employed for the lighter skinned leading lady Zoe Saldana.
Zoe Saldana divides opinion over 'Nina' casting
The first poster of the new movie clearly shows the half-Dominican half-Puerto Rican actress with a much darker skintone than usual, not to mention a prosthetic nose, for her role as African-American jazz singer and civil rights activist Nina Simone. And while Saldana may well have been the best casting choice as an actress, the estate of Simone have lashed out at her appearance being, well, all wrong.
Continue reading: The Nina Simone Estate Lash Out Over Zoe Saldana's 'Blackface'
Reese Witherspoon and Diane Keaton are out for premieres of their new films in L.A. and New York, respectively. Emma Roberts, Dave Franco and Megan Fox are spotted filming on location in Brooklyn. And there are new glimpses of the acclaimed comedy-drama Tangerine and the docs What Happened Miss Simone and The Look of Silence...
Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara led the charge as their new action comedy 'Hot Pursuit' premiered in Los Angeles this week. It's about an uptight policewoman trying to protect the colourful widow of a drug kingpin as they are chased by corrupt cops and mob killers. It opens this weekend in America and in July in the UK.
What Happened, Miss Simone? will be released on Netflix next month
Nina Simone was a force of soul nature, a musical, chart-topping genius whose tunes still reverberate within a number of musical genres today. But the life of this immensely talented fusion of gospel and pop laced with jazz and performed with a perfect contralto voice faced a day-to-day fight for basic civil rights and she struggled to reconcile her artistic flair with her devotion to a fierce movement.
Nina Simone is remembered as a musical genius
What Happened, Miss Simone? is an upcoming documentary that tackles the difficulties of these two worlds as Simone found herself at the centre of an imperfect world as a black, female with an extraordinary ability and a desire for change.
Continue reading: The Voice And The Life Of Nina Simone Is Charted In New Documentary
Nina Simone was, by all accounts, one of the greatest performers of all time. A courageous and powerful voice that touched millions and truly came alive on the stage. Although what most people don't know, is that she was the same when she left the stage. Being such a brave and important figure who lived in a time of distress and injustice, Simone was as alive offstage as she was on it, but she was angry. See, for the first time, the ultimate power that courage and anger can have on the world, but also make the people around her wonder, "what happened, Miss Simone?"
Continue: What Happened, Miss Simone Trailer
The movie hasn't really clicked with the critics, but its Sundance premiere was something special.
It’s Sundance weekend again and the star of the show this year is definitely What Happened, Miss Simone? The Netflix-produced Nina Simone documentary traces the life of the famed Jazz singer from her beginnings as a classical pianist, through her rise to fame on the jazz and blues scene. What Happened, Miss Simone does not gloss over Simone’s involvement in the Civil Rights Movement or her struggles with mental illness.
John Legend performed a stunning tribute at the What Happened, Miss Simone? Premiere
The Park City premiere was made into a real event, followed up with a concert by soul star John Legend in tribute to Simone’s life and work.
Continue reading: "What Happened, Miss Simone?" Makes Waves With Sundance Premiere
A Week in Videos...The popularity of Unknown Mortal Orchestra has been on a slow burning rise for some months now. Taken from their forthcoming second album, helpfully entitled II, ‘So Good At Being In Trouble’ sees the band in a particularly catchy mode, a lilting melody lifting the trademark stoner vibe. The video features the actor Christopher Mintz-Plasse (you’ll know him as McLovin’ from the movie Superbad) causing a scene and trying to snatch a hippy from a scene that could well be set in a 1960s era Venice Beach.
In this video, Nina Simone talks about freedom and love, before the film cuts to a grainy performance of her performing ‘I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free.’ One of music’s legendary performers, Simone’s rendition of the song showcases her warm and passionate vocal. On the subject of freedom, Simone insists that she couldn’t possibly describe how it feels to be free, just as much as its impossible to describe the feeling of being in love. To hear her perform the track, though, you get just a glimpse of what freedom might feel like.
Date of birth
21st February, 1933
Date of death
21st April, 2003