Heidi Klum Goes Topless In St. Barts

30 Quick Interesting Facts About African Americans In Entertainment

Diana Walker
February 15th, 2011 12:00pm EST

Ray-Charles-sc01.jpg

In celebration of Black History Month, we compiled a list of quick facts that consists of record-breaking moments, first accomplishments, and obscure facts that relate to African Americans in Entertainment.

The quick facts were taken from the 366 Fast Facts list that was created by Biography.com. Some of the facts include information about Aretha Franklin, Halle Berry, Harry Belafonte and Beyonce, just to name a few.

Here are the 30 quick facts about African Americans in Entertainment. Be sure to take a look at the list and let me know what you think.

Bill-Cosby-wm04.jpgFact #1
Comedian Bill Cosby's 1984 sitcom, The Cosby Show, became the highest ranking sitcom for 5 years in a row. The program aired for eight years.

Fact #2
In 2006 Whitney Houston, a celebrated singer, songwriter and actress, was named the most awarded female artist of all time by the Guinness World Records.

Fact #3
Michael Jackson, singer, songwriter, and entertainer extraordinaire, was nominated for 12 Grammy awards and won a record-breaking eight in 1984. He has received 13 Grammy awards in his career, and is a double inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (as part of the Jackson 5 and as a solo artist). He holds the title of Most Top 10 Singles from an album for Thriller (1982) and the Most No. 1 Singles from an album for Bad (1987).

Fact #4
Music composer and producer, Quincy Jones is the most Grammy-nominated artist in the history of the awards with 76 nominations and 26 awards.
   
Fact #5           
At the 2010 Grammy Awards, singer Beyonce Knowles walked away from the ceremony with six awards—the most wins in a single night by a female artist in the history of the event.

Fact #6                                                                                                                                                    Musician and activist Harry Belafonte originally devised the idea for "We Are the World," a single that he hoped would help raise money for famine relief in Africa. The single became the fastest selling in history, making more than $20 million worldwide.

Berry,_ChuckFact #7
Chuck Berry's famous "duck walk" dance originated in 1956, when Berry attempted to hide wrinkles in his rayon suit by shaking them out with his now-signature body movements.

Fact #8
Legendary singer James Brown performed in front of a televised audience in Boston the day after Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. Brown is often given credit for preventing riots with the performance.

Fact #9
Before lawyer Johnnie Cochran achieved nationwide fame for his role in the O.J. Simpson trial, actor Denzel Washington interviewed Cochran as part of his research for the award-winning film Philadelphia (1993).

Fact #10
After friend and musical partner Tammi Terrell died of a brain tumor, Marvin Gaye left the music industry for two years. During this time, he tried out for the Detroit Lions football team, but didn't make the cut. Instead, he returned to the studio to record his hit single, "What's Goin' On."

Fact #11
At the very peak of his fame, rock 'n' roll pioneer Little Richard concluded that his music was the Devil's work, and became a traveling Evangelical preacher instead. When the Beatles revived several of his songs in 1964, Little Richard returned to the stage.

Fact #12
Ray Charles Robinson (1930 – 2004) a musical genius and pioneer in blending gospel and the blues shortened his name to just Ray Charles to prevent confusion with the great boxer Sugar Ray Robinson. Ray Charles began going blind at an early age and was completely blind by the time he was 7 years old, but has never relied upon a cane, or a guide dog. He was one of the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at its inaugural ceremony in 1986.

Fact #13
Mamie Smith was the first African-American artist to make a blues record. The album, which brought blues into the mainstream, sold a million copies in less than a year.

Waters,_MuddyFact #14
Muddy Waters (1913 – 1983) is considered the "Father of Chicago Blues" with his infusion of the electric guitar into the Delta country blues. Muddy Waters was influential to some of the most popular rock bands, such as the Rolling Stones, who named themselves after his popular 1950 song &dlquo;Rollin’ Stone".

Fact #15
Model Tyra Banks was the first African-American woman on the covers of GQ magazine and the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. In 1997, model Tyra Banks became the first-ever African-American on the cover of the Victoria's Secret lingerie catalog.

Fact #16
Actress Diahann Carroll won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress In A Television Series in 1968 for her role on the sitcom Julia. Carroll was the first African-American actress to star in her own television series where she did not play a domestic worker.

Fact #17
Nat 'King' Cole, a singer, song writer and pianist, was the first African-American to host a national television program, The Nat King Cole Show, in 1956.

Halle Berry-AME-010726.jpgFact #18
Two years after she played the role of Dorothy Dandridge, the first African-American woman to earn an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress, perfomer Halle Berry actually became the first African-American woman to win the Oscar for Best Actress.

Fact #19
In 1959, Ella Fitzgerald became the first African-American woman to earn a Grammy Award. She won five awards that year, including an award for best jazz soloist and one for best female pop vocalist.

Aretha-Franklin-02.jpgFact #20
Soul singer Aretha Franklin became the first female artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

Fact #21
Robert Johnson, the owner of Black Entertainment Television, became the first black billionaire in America in 2001.

Fact #22
Hattie McDaniel was first black performer to win an Academy Award, earning Best Supporting Actress for her role of Mammy in the epic film, Gone with the Wind.

Star-Trek-tv-p08.jpgFact #23
The first interracial kiss to be seen on network television was on an episode of the sci-fi drama, Star Trek in 1968. The scene was a romantic moment between African-American actress Nichelle Nichols and white Canadian actor William Shatner.

Fact #24
Black Swan Records, founded in 1921 by Harry Pace in Harlem, was the first U.S. record label owned and operated by African-Americans. It was originally the Pace Phonograph Corporation and was renamed Black Swan Records after the 19th century opera singer Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield, who was known as the Black Swan.

Fact #25
Gordon Parks was the first African-American to write, direct, and score a major Hollywood film with the 1969 movie The Learning Tree. The plot was based on Parks' semi-autobiographical book of the same name.

Sidney Poitier -ALO-080755.jpgFact #26
In 1963, Sidney Poitier became the first black man to win the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in the film, Lilies of the Field.

Fact #27
Charley Pride (1938 - ) is one of the most successful African-American country singers of all time, with a career spanning over 40 years and 36 number one hits. He is also the first African-American to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000. Pride was a baseball player with the Negro League and the Memphis Red Sox before becoming a successful musician.

Fact #28
Singer and actress Della Reese was the first black woman to serve as guest host of The Tonight Show.

Run DMC-7.JPGFact #29
Hip-hop group Run-D.M.C. became the first rap act to appear on the cover of Rolling Stone and make a video appearance on MTV.

Fact #30
Oprah Winfrey became the first female U.S. billionaire in 2003.

Photo Credits: Ray Charles Enterprises Inc. and various record labels ,


Sign up for our daily newsletter with great stories like this and more!