Isn't She Lovely? 20 Reasons We Love Our Black Women in Music Performers

As ESSENCE celebrates our 45th anniversary, we uplift the Black women in music who have made an impact over the years. Here we give you just a few of the many reasons we love this year's Black Women in Music performers: Chaka Khan, MC Lyte, Brandy, Jill Scott and Lianne La Havas. 

Dominique Hobdy Jan, 28, 2015

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After heading to the 2011 ESSENCE Music Festival, Chaka Khan was deeply moved by the effects of Hurricane Katrina on local women. She teamed up with the Institute of Women & Ethnic Studies and the ESSENCE Festival to create the Superlife Transformation Program.

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Chaka Khan

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Whether it was her fashion choices, her fierce hair or her powerhouse vocals, Chaka has shown us what it means to be bold and beautiful.

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After discovering that she had type-2 diabetes, she declared, “I can’t live like this,” and got to work. Seventy-five pounds later, Chaka Khan is a testament to the fact that you can do what you put your mind to. Here she debuts her new body at the 40th annual Fifi awards. 

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Brandy took the music world by storm with her self-titled debut album in 1994 and she's still on our radar 21 years later.

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Brandy's hit show, Moesha, taught valuable lessons to teen girls everywhere. Her very own Barbie doll was an inspiration and her role as Cinderella was a hit. Brandy has helped put Black girls on the map from the start. 

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Who knew Brandy was so funny? She showed her comedic skills during her live stint on The Soul Man and her character on The Game, Chardonnay Pitts, keeps us in stitches.

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We've watched Brandy blossom into a lovely young woman. From her beginnings in the early 90's to now, she's always kept it classy. 

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Jill Scott's radiant confidence shines through and encourages us to love ourselves in the same way.

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When 'Gettin' in the Way' dropped a lot of us wanted to know, Who Is Jill Scott?  Not only did her honey-smooth vocals catch our attention but most of us knew exactly where she was coming from. As a songwriter, Jilly From Philly just has a certain way of capturing the range of a woman’s emotions. 

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Jill Scott isn't short on talent. The songstress has become a force in the movie and television industries as well. She's appeared in several sitcoms and over 10 films including, Girlfriends, Why Did I Get Married? and Get On Up

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The ESSENCE Music Festival veteran has rocked stage after stage during our annual celebration. Fans know that if they're coming to see Jilly From Philly, they're in for a stellar show. 

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Hailing from London, Lianne La Havas has a vintage "boy meets girl" style that sets her apart. The star has admited that she takes style cues from Dianne Keaton's character in Annie Hall. Effortlessy cool, she poses for a portrait at Warner Bros. Records 'Summer Sessions' in California. 

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Lianne La Havas is no stranger to music. The 25-year-old began singing at the ripe age of five and wrote her first song at 11. Coming from a musical family, La Havas says that her parents' diverse taste has had the biggest influence on her music. 

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La Havas is one of our favorite naturalistas on the scene right now. Fans take cues from her funky updo's, vintage styles and gorgeous coils. We love a fearless hair star! 

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Many would be grateful just to see Prince in concert, but what happens when 'The Purple One' wants to meet you? ""He heard my music, somehow, two years ago and decided he wanted to meet me!" said La Havas during an interview. The rising star has gotten the seal of approval from a music great and we second that. 

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We love MC Lyte because she has used her success to uplift others through her Hip Hop Sisters foundation. “HHSF is about changing lives and truly encouraging several generations that have been and are influenced by Hip-Hop culture," explained MC Lyte in an interview

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MC Lyte

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When MC Lyte came on the scene, Hip-Hop was a male dominated sport that was in desperate need of strong female voices. MC Lyte unapolagetically told her story from her perspective, carving out her spot in Hip-Hop history.

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Hip-Hip pioneer. DJ. Philanthropist. Producer. Actress. CEO. Speaker. Voice over talent. MC Lyte has quite the resume. We love that she's a woman on-the-go that puts her all into her interests and succeeds.