african american classics

Black Girls Classics

The Playlist Series: African American/Black American Weddings, The First Dance

Requested By: riamonaee15

Etta James: At Last
K-Ci & JoJo: All My Life
Whitney Houston: I Will Always Love You
John Legend: Stay With You
Patti LaBelle: If Only You Knew
SWV: You’re Always On My Mind
The Isley Brothers: For the Love of You
John Legend: You & I
Beyonce: Halo
Faith Evans: I Love You
Four Tops/Whitney Houston: I Believe In You and Me
Tammi Terrel & Marvin Gaye/Cheryl Lynn & Luther Vandross: If This World Were Mine
Anita Baker: Sweet Love
Percy Sledge: When a Man Loves a Woman
New Edition: Can You Stand the Rain
Rufus & Chaka Khan: Sweet Thing
Jill Scott: He Loves Me
Nat King Cole & Natalie Cole: Unforgettable
Whitney Houston: You Give Good Love
Jaheim: Anything
Rose Royce: Wishing on A Star
Ginuwine: Differences
The O'Jays: Stairway to Heaven
Mariah Carey: When I Saw You
Aaliyah: At Your Best (You Are Love)
Dru Hill: These Are the Times
Babyface: Every Time I Close My Eye
Brian McKnight: Back At One
Minne Riperton: Loving You
India Arie: Ready For Love
Troop: All I Do Is Think of You
Prince: Adore
Kindred The Family: Where Would I be
Chaka Khan: Through the Fire
Jagged Edge: Promise
Dondria: You’re the One
Kevon Edmonds: 24/7
Kem: I Can’t Stop Loving You
Stevie Wonder/Luther Vandross/Donell Jones: Knocks Me Off My Feet
Tony! Toni! Tone!: Whatever You Want
Musiq Soulchild: Dontchange
Beyonce: Speechless
Seal: Kiss From A Rose
Case: Happily Ever After
Kem: Share My Life
Keyshia Cole: Love
Gerald Levert: Made to Love You
Musiq Soulchild: Love
The Deele: Two Occasions
Mawell: Fortunate
Xscape: The Arms of the One Who Loves You
India Arie: The Truth
Tendy Pendergrass: Love T.K.O
Kenny Lattimore: For You
SWV: Weak
Musiq Soulchild: sobeautiful
Mariah Carey: Vision of Love
Aretha Franklin: You’re All I Need
Gladys Kinght & The Pimps: Best Thing That Happened to Me
Beyonce: Rather Die Young
Luther Vandross: Here and Now
Pressure: Love And Affection
Heatwave/Luther Vandross: Always & Forever
Chaka Khan: Ain’t Nobody
John Legend: All of Me
Alicia Keys: If I Ain’t Got You
Luther Vandross: All The Woman I Need
Ruff Endz: Someone to Love You
Stevie Wonder: You and I
Beyonce: Dangerously In Love
Avant & Keye Wyatt: You & I
Shanice: I Love Your Smile
Maria Carey: Open Arms
Musiq Soulchild: Teachme
Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway/Beyonce & Luther Vandross: The Closer I Get to You
John Legend: P.D.A. (We Just Don’t Care)
Stevie Wonder: Signed, Sealed Delivered (I’m Yours)
Atlantic Starr: Always
Luther Vandross & Mariah Care: Endless Love
Blackstreet: Let’s Stay in Love
John Legend: So High
Lionel Richie & Diana Ross: Endless Love
Whitney Houston: Greatest Love of All
Mariah Carey: Underneath the Stars
Jagged Edge: Good Luck Charm

Lena Horne with her dresser on the set of Stormy Weather  (Andrew L. Stone, 1943), one of only 2 films in the 1930′s and 40′s in which Horne had a lead role. Otherwise, though under contract to MGM, she was cast in musical short subjects or, when part of a big MGM musical, she was in isolated numbers that could be easily edited out for films shown in the segregated South. 

Portrait of soprano Veronica Tyler. Printed on front: “James J. Kriegsmann, N.Y.” Stamped on back: “Veronica Tyler, soprano.”

  • Courtesy of the E. Azalia Hackley Collection of African Americans in the Performing Arts, Detroit Public Library

Black Girl Classics

The Playlist Series: Songs You Will Hear at an African American Family Function

Sister Sledge: “We Are Family”
Frankie Beverly & Maze: “Before I let Go”
S.O.S. Band: “Don’t Stop the Music”
Slave: “Just A Touch of Love”
One Way: “Cutie Pie”
Patrice Rushe: “Forget Me Nots”
The Isley Brothers: “For the Love of You”
Juvenile: “Back that Ass Up”
Curtist Mayfield: “Pusherman”
Al Green: “Let’s Stay Together”
Stevie Wonder: “Isn’t She Lovely”
R. Kelly: “Step in the Name of Love”
Luther Vandross: “Never Too Much"
Shalamar: “Make That Move”
Teena Marie: “Square Biz”
Kool & the Gang: “ Get Down On it”
Sugar Hill Gang: “Rappers Delight”
Earth, Wind & Fire: “Reasons”
Strafe: “Set it Off”
The Gap Band: “You Dropped A Bomb on Me”
Chic: “Good Times”
Montel Jordan: “This “is How we Do It”
Evelyn Champagne King: “Love Come Down”
Club Nouveau: “Why You Treat Me So Bad”
McFadden & Whitehead: “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now”
Sly and The Family Stone: “Family Affair:
Al Green: “Love and Happiness”
Switch: “I Call Your Name”
68 Boyz: “Tootsee Roll”  
The O'Jays: “Love Train“
Carl Carlton: "She’s A Bad Mama Jama”  
The Whispers: “Rock Steady”
Johnny Kemp: “Just Got Paid”
Kool & the Gang: “Celebration”
Ohio Players: “Love Roller Coaster”
Al Green: “Tired of Being Alone”
Marcia Griffiths: “ Electric Boogie (The Electric Slide)”
Roger:  "I Want to Be Your Man”
Ohio Players: “Fire”
Earth, Wind & Fire: “September”
The Commodores: “Brick House”
Michael Jackson: “Billie Jean”
Chaka Khan: “Ain’t Nobody”
Whitney Houston: “I wanna Dance With Somebody”
Parliament: “Flashlight”
DJ Casper: “Cha Cha Slide”
Zap: “ Computer Love”
The Whispers: “And the Beat Goes On”
S.O.S.: “Just Be Good to Me”
Frankie Beverly & Maze: “Happy Feelings”
Cameo: “Candy”
Vaughan Mason & Crew: “Bounce, Rock, Skate, Roll“
Guy: “I Like”
Cheryl Lynn: “Got to Be Real”
Cupid: “Cupid Shuffle”
The Gap Band: “Outstanding”

Great American Composers : William Grant Still

William Grant Still (May 11, 1895 – December 3, 1978) was an American composer, who composed more than 150 works, including five symphonies and eight operas.

Often referred to as “the Dean” of African-American composers, Still was the first American composer to have an opera produced by the New York City Opera. Still is known most for his first symphony, which was until the 1950s the most widely performed symphony composed by an American. 

Born in Mississippi, he grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas, attended Wilberforce University and Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and was a student of George Whitefield Chadwick and later Edgard Varèse.

Of note, Still was the first African American to conduct a major American symphony orchestra, the first to have a symphony (his 1st Symphony) performed by a leading orchestra, the first to have an opera performed by a major opera company, and the first to have an opera performed on national television.

Due to his close association and collaboration with prominent Afro-American literary and cultural figures such as Alain Locke and Langston Hughes, William Grant Still is considered to be part of the Harlem Renaissance movement. 

In 1918, Still joined the United States Navy to serve in World War I. Between 1919 and 1921, he worked as an arranger for W. C. Handy’s band. In 1921 he recorded with Fletcher Henderson’s Dance Orchestra, and later played in the pit orchestra for Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake’s musical, Shuffle Along. Later in the 1920s, Still served as the arranger of Yamekraw, a “Negro Rhapsody” composed by the noted Harlem stride pianist, James P. Johnson. His initial hiring by Paul Whiteman took place in early November 1929.

In the 1930s, Still worked as an arranger of popular music, writing for Willard Robison’s Deep River Hour and Paul Whiteman’s Old Gold Show, both popular NBC Radio broadcasts. In 1936, Still conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra ; he was the first African American to conduct a major American orchestra.

In 1934, Still received his first Guggenheim Fellowship; he started work on the first of his eight operas, Blue Steel. In 1949 his opera Troubled Island, originally completed in 1939, about Jean Jacques Dessalines and Haiti, was performed by the New York City Opera. It was the first opera by an African American to be performed by a major company.

Still moved to Los Angeles in the 1930s, where he arranged music for films. These included Pennies from Heaven (the 1936 film starring Bing Crosby and Madge Evans) and Lost Horizon (the 1937 film starring Ronald Colman, Jane Wyatt and Sam Jaffe). For Lost Horizon, he arranged the music of Dimitri Tiomkin. Still was also hired to arrange the music for the 1943 film Stormy Weather, but left the assignment after a few weeks due to artistic disagreements.

In 1955, he conducted the New Orleans Philharmonic Orchestra; he was the first African American to conduct a major orchestra in the Deep South. Still’s works were performed internationally by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, and the BBC Orchestra.

He was the first African American to have an opera performed on national United States television when A Bayou Legend, completed in 1941, premiered on PBS in June 1981. Additionally, he was the recording manager of the Black Swan Phonograph Company.

( Source : Wikipedia )

Outdoor portrait of soprano Leontyne Price. Stamped on back: “Leontyne Price. Personal management, Larney Goodking, 30 East 60th St., New York 22, N.Y., Room 1202, ELdorado 5-6560.”

  • Courtesy of the E. Azalia Hackley Collection of African Americans in the Performing Arts, Detroit Public Library

Portrait of soprano Leontyne Price in Mozart’s opera, “Don Giovanni.” Printed on front: “Fayer, Wien.” Stamped on back: “Photo, Fayer, Wien I, Opernring 6. Handwritten on back: "Salzburg, 1960. Don Giovanni.”

  • Courtesy of the E. Azalia Hackley Collection of African Americans in the Performing Arts, Detroit Public Library

Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield (1824 – March 31, 1876), dubbed “The Black Swan”, was an African-American singer considered the best-known black concert artist of her time. She was noted by James M. Trotter for her “remarkably sweet tones and wide vocal compass”. (Wikipedia)

Portrait of singer Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield. Printed on front: “Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield.”

  • Courtesy of the E. Azalia Hackley Collection of African Americans in the Performing Arts, Detroit Public Library
npr.org
Restored 'Race Films' Find New Audiences
Some of the earliest movies by African-American filmmakers from the 1910s through 1940s languished in film archives over the years on poor-quality film prints. Now some have been digitally restored.