While there are many reasons to fall in love with all that is displayed in the music history section of the museum, one of the most remarkable aspects is realizing the effort the museum curators put into ensuring that as many Black artists and musicians as possible were included. Some artists are highlighted with their very own exhibits, while others receive a more subtle spotlight. Either way, each of the artists can forever say they are a part of American history that stands tall and proud at the center of our nation’s capital.
Here’s a look at 23 of the many modern-day Black artists you’ll be glad — or maybe even surprised — to know are featured and recognized for their contributions to our rich musical history.
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Rapper The Notorious B.I.G., aka Christopher Wallace, was raised in the Jehovah’s Witness faith by his mother Voletta Wallace, who is still active in the religion today.
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The R&B crooner’s birthday is May 23.
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Chris Brown performed at ESSENCE Festival in 2006, 2007 and 2008.