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Top 10 Influential African American Musicians Today

Claudine Paul Claudine Paul
February 25th, 2011 11:27pm EST

African American musicians in today's music world are not merely just entertainers, but individuals of many facets.  Showcased below are a few that we think, with the help of the success of their music careers, are the top 10 influential African American musicians in music today.  African American musicians in today's music world are not merely just entertainers, but individuals of many facets.  Showcased below are a few that we think, with the help of the success of their music careers, are the top 10 influential African American musicians in music today.


Beyonce Knowles


Beyonce Knowles has fashioned a successful career directed by determined and continuous artistic growth.  Shrewdly stepping away from the hugely popular R&B trio Destiny's Child in 2003, the singer's choice as a solo act propelled her crossover status as one of the most influential African-American musicians in Pop Culture today.  Knowles has ventured in media, as a singer, songwriter, producer, fashion label owner designer (House of Dereon), model, and business entrepreneur, has positioned her status as #2 on Forbes 2010 The Celebrity 100 List. Beyonce’s success is an example that many women in the music business now look to follow.

 

Beyonce

 

 
Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter
 
The world of Hip Hop music is the vehicle that has brought entertainment mogul Jay-Z worldwide fame, and status as one of the most influential African-American Musicians today. Expansion in music (Def Jam Recordings/Roc-A-Fella/Roc Nation/StarRoc), and to other areas such as sports (New Jersey Nets), recreational establishments(40/40 Club), fashion (Roc-A-Wear), and Pop literature (Decoded) with a savvy entrepreneurial tenacity, Jay-Z has sustained an enviable longevity become a mega-force in Pop Culture.  

 

Jay


 
Sean "P.Diddy" Combs

 
Sean "P. Diddy" Combs is another of Hip Hop music veterans, with given business acumen, to morph his career into that of one of the most influential African-American musicians today. His developed music empire has taken him to the role of rapper, record producer, record label owner (Bad Boy Records), television producer, actor, and fashion designer.

 

Sean

 

William "Will.i.am" James Adams Jr.   
 
Appropriating a Pop sound in 90's, for Will.i.am and his Rap act The Black Eyed Peas,  rocketed the band's popularity into music stratosphere. The music entertainer, who has become one of the most influential musicians in music today, has led a transformative career as a record producer, songwriter, political activist, and Director of Creative Innovation for Intel.

 

william

 

Aretha Franklin

The voice of  no other woman is revered more, in music history today, than Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin.  Franklin’s trademark  voice is mimiced by many of the musical contemporaries of the current generation.  Her poised command of music and the music industry is most deserving of all the public R-E-S-P-E-C-T given in adoration.

 

aretha

 

Kanye West

Turning a personal misfortune into music career proved to be a smart move for Hip Hop artist Kanye West, which was guided his career into a hit making singles producer and chart hitting entertainer.  Perhaps more than any other current Hip Hop artist, West has used his given medium as an expansive career tool into other areas of cultural appreciation in the fine arts such as film.

 

kanye

 

Wyclef Jean

Entertainer Wyclef Jean , better known a former member and founder of renowned Hip Hop group The Fugees, employs his musical influence to bring attention to chosen humanitarian causes and political initiatives, especially as in his native land of Haiti where Jean is determined to make a change.

 

wyclef


Wynton Marsalis

Jazz, for music purist Wynton Marsalis, is a passion.  The trumpeter/composer has dedicated his  career driven path to the creative aspects of music from a global influence, and in particular that Jazz music.  

 

wynton

 

 

Esperanza Spalding

“Who’s Esperanza Spalding?” have been the question that many were wondering, when the artist deservedly won the 2011 Grammy Award for Best New Artist.  However, Spalding has been a buzzing force in the Jazz world for the past five years.  Her prodigious musical background, aside from performance, has found a voice in music academia, and as a woman in the music industry.

 

esperanza

 

Michael Jackson

Though it has been two years since his passing, Michael Jackson’s musical influence has flourished posthomously.  The recording artist’s estate is still a major force in popular culture, that still produces music, contributes to global philanthropic endeavors, and most recently by entering into music gaming world.

 

michael

 

Photo Credits: Janet Mayer, Anthony G. Moore, Sylvain Gaboury (2), PRN, David Gabber, Daniel Locke, Chris Hatcher, Big Hassle