5 Black Artists Breaking Down Barriers

Sponsored by Microsoft: “Bold, Black and Beautiful”

In partnership with Microsoft, TheGrio presents, “Bold, Black, and Beautiful” – a celebration of Black History Month. Let’s look at some of the industry’s boldest, most influential, and disruptive artists known not just for the music, but for their style and approach.

We were first introduced to Van Jess through a platform we’re all familiar with, YouTube. Not only are these two real-life sisters known for their sultry voices, but their eccentric fashion choices make them trendsetters.

Muni Long, or as some of us know her, Priscilla Rinella, has recently taken the Internet by storm with her latest single, “Hours and Hours.” Muni Long’s career is impressive, seeing how she started off as a writer for some of our favorite artists with songs like Rihanna’s California King Bed and Ariana Grande’s Imagine.

Matthew Whitaker, a blind piano prodigy, embodies an artist willing to create change in conversation and how we receive music. He got that stamp of approval when he opened for the one and only Mr. Stevie Wonder’s induction into the Apollo Theater’s Hall of Fame.

If you have to describe Little Simz, in one word, it’d be “swag.” A British rapper, singer, and actress, Little Simz can body any beat with her slick lyrics. She makes it apparent that she marches to the beat of her own drum.

Before we had Silk Sonic, there was Louis Yorke. They are a talented duo consisting of musician Chuck Harmony and vocalist Claude Kelly who originally met while working with Chrisette Michele.

One thing all these artists have in common is their willingness to take risks with both their music and overall identity. Music has been a coping mechanism for black people for as long as we can remember. We hope the artists featured in this video provide you with inspiration and joyful vibrations.