7 pioneering black artists who

Famous African American music artists

Black History Month is celebrated throughout the month of February in the United States in a collective effort to promote, preserve and research black history and culture year-round.

Of course, music is and has always been an indelible part of American culture. And whether it's jazz, blues, R&B or hip-hop, African-American musicians, singers and producers have made immense contributions to our nation's musical history.

To help celebrate Black History Month, we take a look back at memorable albums and snapshots from the careers of a select group of talented African-American artists who have not only won plenty of GRAMMYs, but have enriched our culture and inspired legions of listeners along the way.

Quincy Jones, Back On The Block (iTunes>)
GRAMMY wins: 27
Memorable GRAMMY gold: "Q" holds the record for most GRAMMY nominations with 79 and in 1990 the esteemed producer picked up six GRAMMYs, including Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical and Album Of The Year for Back On The Block.

Stevie Wonder, Songs In The Key Of Life (iTunes>)
GRAMMY wins: 25
Memorable GRAMMY gold: Fresh off winning five GRAMMY Awards in both 1973 and 1974, the legendary Wonder rolled another five in 1976, including wins for Best Producer Of The Year and Album Of The Year for Songs In The Key Of Life.

Aretha Franklin, I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You (iTunes>)
GRAMMY wins: 18
Memorable GRAMMY gold: The Queen of Soul commanded respect from her peers in picking up a pair of GRAMMYs in 1967 for Best Rhythm & Blues Recording and Best Rhythm & Blues Solo Vocal Performance, Female for, you guessed it, "Respect." The Queen was honored at the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards in 2011 with a special tribute performance by Yolanda Adams, Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Hudson, Martina McBride, and Florence Welch.

Kanye West, Graduation GRAMMY wins: 18
Memorable GRAMMY gold: The enigmatic rapper graduated in 2007 with four GRAMMYs for Best Rap Song, Best Rap Album, Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group, and Best Rap Solo Performance. West won another four GRAMMYs this year, including Best Rap Song for "All Of The Lights" with Jeff Bhasker, Fergie, Malik Jones, and Warren Trotter, and Best Rap Album for My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.

Ray Charles, Genius Loves Company (iTunes>)
GRAMMY wins: 17
Memorable GRAMMY gold: Following his passing in 2004, Charles' Genius Loves Company album spawned five posthumous statues at the 47th Annual GRAMMY Awards, including Album Of The Year and Record Of The Year. His album Genius + Soul = Jazz earned an induction into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame in 2011.

Beyoncé, I Am…Sasha Fierce (iTunes>)
GRAMMY wins: 16
Memorable GRAMMY gold: In 2010 the R&B/pop princess won a six-pack of GRAMMYs at the 52nd Annual GRAMMY Awards, including Song Of The Year for "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)." This year, aside from giving birth to her daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, Beyoncé garnered nominations for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for "Party" with André 3000 and Best Long Form Music Video for I Am...World Tour.

B.B. King, Completely Well (iTunes>)
GRAMMY wins: 15
Memorable GRAMMY gold: King was crowned with his first GRAMMY in 1970 for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male for "The Thrill Is Gone, " which hit No. 15 on the Billboard Hot 100. King won GRAMMYs in the '80s, '90s and '00s, with his most recent win coming in 2008 for Best Traditional Blues Album for One Kind Favor.

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