1-20 of 160 Results  for:

  • Musicianship and Singing x
  • Radio and Television x
Clear all

Article

Baqi<ayn>e Bedawi Muhammad

pioneer Sudanese woman singer and activist during the struggle for Sudanese independence and the first woman to perform on the radio in Sudan. Born in 1905 in Kassala City in the eastern region of Sudan, Ahmad was the eldest among her seven siblings, including three brothers and four sisters. Among them was a sister Jidawiyya who played a crucial role with Ahmad in their journey as female musicians. Ahmad’s family was originally from Nigeria and migrated to Sudan in the late nineteenth century as pilgrims on their way to the holy places in Saudi Arabia. Her father, Musa Ahmad Yahiyya, was from the Fulani-Sokoto ethnic group, while her mother, Hujra, was from Hausa. Ahmad’s nickname is Aisha al-Falatiyyia, a reference to her father’s ethnic group, the Fulani, or Fallata, as they are known in Sudan.

The documented history indicates that Sudan served as a crossroads to the holy places in ...

Article

SaFiya D. Hoskins

musician and actress, was born Erica Abi Wright in Dallas, Texas, the eldest of three children born to Kolleen Maria Gipson and William Wright Jr. Young Erica's mother worked as a theatrical performer while her maternal grandmother helped to raise the Wright children. Eevin, her brother, was the youngest sibling. The Wright daughters, like their mother, embraced the arts: Koryan, her younger sister, was a singer who would later perform background for Erica under the stage name Nayrok Udab.

At the young age of four, Erica was already exhibiting theatrical and artistic tendencies and began singing and dancing with her mother at the Dallas Theater Center. She was in first grade when her appearance in a Christmas play inspired her early desire to perform onstage. Erica was introduced by her mother to a diverse array of artists who influenced her musical palate, such as Ella Fitzgerald Pink Floyd ...

Article

Timothy J. O'Brien

rock-and-roll pioneer. Chuck Berry is truly the father of rock and roll. His vibrant songwriting, innovative guitar playing, and live performances inspired legions of followers, and he was the single most important figure in defining a new genre that mixed country and rhythm and blues.

Charles Edward Anderson Berry was born to Henry William Berry Sr., a carpenter, and Martha Bell Banks, a housewife, in Saint Louis, Missouri, in 1926. The family belonged to a Baptist church, and Berry's earliest memories were of his parents singing gospel songs around the house. His first try at show business, singing “Confessin’ the Blues” to a friend's guitar accompaniment at a high school talent show, inspired him to play guitar.

While still in high school in Saint Louis he left for a trip to California with two friends When their money ran low they robbed a few small businesses and ...

Article

Scott Sheidlower

singer and actress. Beyoncé Giselle Knowles—or, as she is also known, Beyoncé—was born to Mathew and Tina Knowles in Houston, Texas. Her father sold medical scanners, and her mother ran a hair salon. With LaTavia Roberson and Kelly Rowland, Beyoncé was recruited by two Houston businessmen to form a preteen rhythm-and-blues group under the name Girl's Tyme, which the businessmen managed. In 1992 the group appeared on a nationally syndicated televised talent competition, Star Search, and lost doing a rap song.

Shortly thereafter Beyoncé's father took over as her manager. He added LeToya Luckett to the group, creating a rhythm-and-blues quartet that they named the Dolls. The Dolls began to perform in concerts starring artists such as Nas. In 1997 they changed their name to Destiny s Child and they signed with the Columbia recording label Their first recording Killing Time appeared on the soundtrack for ...

Article

Linda M. Carter

singer, songwriter, producer, and arranger, was born John William Bristol in Morganton, North Carolina, the son of James and Mary Bristol. While in high school, Bristol was named to the All-State Football Team, and he formed a singing group known as the Jackets. After graduating from high school he enlisted in the United States Air Force and was stationed at Fort Custer, in Battle Creek, Michigan. Bristol and Robert “Jackey” Beavers formed part of the group the High Fives, though soon left to form the duo Johnny and Jackey. In 1959 Gwen Gordy and Billy Davis signed the two young men to their Anna Records label, and Johnny and Jackey recorded two 45s before Gordy and Harvey Fuqua established Tri-Phi Records in 1961 Johnny and Jackey recorded four 45s The duo s songs garnered a modicum of success in the Midwest but failed to ...

Article

Robyn McGee

His father, the late Trevor George Smith, was a businessman and his mother, Geraldine Green, a homemaker. Both were immigrants from Jamaica. Smith has one brother, Paul, and four children.

Around 1989 Smith was given the moniker “Busta Rhymes” by fellow rapper Chuck D of the seminal hip-hop group Public Enemy. The original George “Buster” Rhymes was an NFL running back known for his charismatic, freewheeling style.

Busta Rhymes attended George Westinghouse Career and Technical School in Brooklyn with other iconic rappers, Sean Carter, aka Jay Z; Christopher Wallace, aka Biggie Smalls, the Notorious B.I.G; Earl Simmons, aka D.M.X.; and Sean Combs later known as Puff Daddy and P Diddy As teenagers Rhymes and Jay Z famously held a speed rapping battle in the high school cafeteria which was won by Jay Z After living in Liverpool England for a short time Rhymes returned to New York ...

Article

Randall Clark

actress and singer, was born Eliza Virginia Capers in Sumter, South Carolina. Nothing is known of her parentage or her early education. She attended Howard College and studied voice at Julliard University before pursuing a career as a singer and actress. One of the results of her classes at Julliard was that she became proficient in several languages, a skill that would serve her well in her later career.

While barely into her twenties, Capers met Abe Lyman. Leader of the popular Lyman Orchestra, he offered Capers the opportunity to tour with his orchestra and perform on his radio program. She put her linguistic abilities to good use on Lyman's radio program, where she was sometimes called upon to sing in Yiddish; after the program left the air in 1947 she was able to find roles in Yiddish theater productions in New York City She was also ...

Article

Jack Sohmer

jazz trumpeter, was born Thomas Carey in Hahnville, Louisiana, a small town west of New Orleans. Nothing is known of his parents, but of seventeen siblings, five of his brothers, including the legendary trombonist and bandleader Jack Carey, were also musicians. His first instruments were drums, guitar, and alto horn, but around 1912 he started playing cornet, working in his brother Jack's ragtime marching band and other similar groups. In 1914, along with the clarinetist Johnny Dodds and the bassist Pops Foster, he played in the trombonist Kid Ory's band and in 1917 toured with Billy and Baby Mack's Merrymakers revue in a group that included Dodds and the pianist Steve Lewis. After leaving the Merrymakers, on the suggestion of the cornetist King Oliver Carey took a job with the clarinetist Lawrence Duhé s Original Creole Band at the Pekin Café in Chicago but not ...

Article

Michael J. Budds

jazz pianist, singer, and composer of popular songs, was born in Zanesville, Ohio, the daughter of Edward E. Carlisle and Mellie (maiden name unknown), a schoolteacher. The assertion that Una Mae was born in Xenia, Ohio—published in many references—does not conform to family records. With piano training from her mother, Una Mae sang and played in public at age three in Chillicothe, Ohio. After participating in musical activities at church and school in Jamestown and Xenia, Ohio, she began performing regularly on the radio station WHIO in Dayton while still a youngster. In 1932 she came to the notice of Thomas “Fats” Waller in Cincinnati and quickly became his protégée and the beneficiary of his counsel.

Until the end of 1933 Carlisle worked alongside the well-known entertainer Waller, both on tour and in his Rhythm Club broadcasts for the Cincinnati station WLW which boasted the highest wattage of any ...

Article

Mary Anne Hansen

gospel, R&B, and pop singer and songwriter, was born in Cleveland, Ohio. Carr began studying piano at age eight. When she was 13, she entered the Cleveland Musical College to study voice, piano, harmony, and arranging. While in her midteens, she began performing in Baptist churches across the region. At age 20, she moved to Detroit to become a choir director and formed her own group, the Carr Singers, with whom she toured the Midwest and the South. Carr, with her alto voice, also became a member of the famous Wings Over Jordan Choir, who were aired regularly on a popular family radio program in the Cleveland area; from that group sprang the Wilson Jubilee Singers, yet another group with which Carr would perform.

It was with the Carr Singers that she caught the attention of J. W. Alexander of the Pilgrim Travelers a group she also later joined ...

Article

Kate Tuttle

Born in New York City, Diahann Carroll grew up in a comfortable, middle-class home. She began singing in a church choir for children at age six, and won a music scholarship sponsored by the Metropolitan Opera when she was ten. Carroll's mother, who often took her to Broadway musicals and other performances, encouraged her to apply to New York's High School of Music and Art, which accepted her.

Carroll, who had been born Carol Diahann Johnson, took her professional name at sixteen when she appeared on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Search, a television showcase for aspiring performers. Despite her parents' wish that she attend Howard University—she had earned money for college by modeling for Ebony magazine Carroll stayed in New York She left college after one semester at New York University to accept a long term nightclub engagement Soon thereafter Carroll went on the road ...

Article

Hilary Mac Austin

Diahann Carroll was only six when she joined the Tiny Tots choir at Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church. Her life appears to have been a nonstop rollercoaster ride ever since. As she said in Diahann: An Autobiography, “All I ever wanted to do was sing. What happened was more.”

Carroll grew up in Harlem, New York, although she was born in the Bronx as Carol Diann Johnson. Her parents were John and Mabel Faulk Johnson. She has one sister, Lydia, thirteen years younger. Her father was a subway conductor, and her mother, who trained as a nurse, stayed at home to raise her daughters. The household, while not wealthy, was solidly middle class.

At the age of ten, Carroll won a music scholarship through an organization affiliated with the Metropolitan Opera. At fourteen, she got her first modeling job with Ebony magazine and by the age of ...

Article

Courtney Q. Shah

singer and actress. Carol Diahann Johnson was born in the Bronx, New York. As a teenager she performed as a nightclub singer and a model while attending the famous New York High School of Music and Art. She made her film debut in 1954 in Carmen Jones, working with Harry Belafonte and Dorothy Dandridge. Paired again with Dandridge, Carroll had a role in Porgy and Bess (1959). Film and television appearances continued, including an Emmy nomination in 1963 for her work in the crime drama Naked City.

In 1968 Carroll made television history by becoming the first black actress to star in her own series. NBC's Julia received both popular praise and critical acclaim, and Carroll received an Emmy nomination in its first year. Generations of African American performers remember Carroll's Julia as a turning point providing inspiration that roles for black actors ...

Article

Mary Krane Derr

singer, actor, and comedian, was born Nell Ruth Hardy in Birmingham, Alabama, one of nine children. Nell's parents were Edna Mae Humphrey, a homemaker, and her second husband Horace Hardy, an Army sergeant. At age two, Nell witnessed his accidental electrocution death. Deeply affected by Dinah Washington, B. B. King, and Elvis Presley records, Nell began singing in her church choir, on a local radio show called the “Y-Teens,” and on the gospel circuit. She never grew taller than four feet eleven inches but had a large, commanding voice and presence. Her show business ambitions made her a “weirdo” in a social environment where “most kids wanted to be teachers or nurses” (CNN.com, Entertainment, 23 Jan. 2003). At age 13, the Presbyterian-raised Nell discovered that one of her grandfathers probably had Jewish ancestry. Although not converting until 1983 she started ...

Article

Scott Yanow

jazz pianist, was born in Flemingsburg, Kentucky. His father, Charles Chittison, was a carpenter who also played several instruments in a street band while his mother, Sarah Jane Chittison, worked as a laundress and a cook. Herman began playing piano when he was eight years old, starting with church hymns. In high school he was the pianist and director of the school orchestra. Chittison studied briefly at Kentucky State College.

Chittison's first professional job was in 1927 with the Kentucky Derbies, a local group. Already a powerful pianist, Chittison spent 1928 to 1931 as a member of Zack Whyte's Chocolate Beau Brummels, a legendary territory band. Chittison made his recording debut with Whyte in 1929. He recorded several songs with the bandleader Clarence Williams in 1930 and 1933 and accompanied the banjoist and singer Ikey Robinson on two duets in 1933 the latter act which had Robinson ...

Article

Chuck D  

Alice Knox Eaton

rapper, educator, and music entrepreneur, was born Carlton Douglas Ridenhour in Queens, New York, to Lorenzo and Judy Ridenhour, both political activists. Lorenzo worked as a warehouse manager before starting his own trucking company at age forty. Ridenhour's home was full of the sounds of jazz and R&B, and he grew up with an acute awareness of the political events of the 1960s as they unfolded: the murder of Medgar Evers, the 1963 March on Washington, and the assassinations of the Kennedys, Black Panther leaders, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr. The family, including his sister Lisa and brother Erik, moved from predominantly black Queensbridge to another largely black community in Roosevelt, Long Island, when Ridenhour was eleven. He spent the summers of 1970 and 1971 attending programs at Adelphi and Hofstra universities on the African American experience further shaping his early sense of the ...

Article

Ronald P. Dufour

Cole, Nat King (17 March 1919–15 February 1965), pianist and singer, was born Nathaniel Adams Coles in Montgomery, Alabama, the son of the Reverend Edward James Coles, Sr., and Perlina Adams, a musician. Cole’s family moved to Chicago when he was four. He first studied piano with his mother, then with bassist Milt Hinton’s mother, and at the age of twelve, classical piano with a Professor Thomas. The family home was located near the Grand Terrace Ballroom, where Cole often heard his first and most important influence, pianist Earl Hines. In high school Cole played a variety of instruments in a band that included future jazz stars Hinton, Lionel Hampton, and Ray Nance His father eventually agreed to allow the teenager to play jazz on weeknights if he continued to play organ for Sunday services At about the age of sixteen Cole organized a ...

Article

Iain Anderson

singer and pianist. An influential jazz pianist, Nat King Cole transformed himself into a popular balladeer and one of the most successful entertainers of the 1950s and early 1960s. Although he was criticized for his supposed commercialism and accommodation of segregation, Cole's appeal endured until his death from lung cancer in 1965.

Born in Montgomery, Alabama, at age four Nathaniel Adams Coles moved to Chicago with his parents, part of the Great Migration of southern African Americans seeking a better life in northern cities. His father, Edward James Coles, ministered to a Baptist congregation, and his mother, Perlina Coles directed the church choir and encouraged her six children to study and perform music Cole he adopted his stage name in the late 1930s sang and played organ in his father s church from age twelve and played piano for several bands in Chicago during and after ...

Article

Vonzele David Reed

hip hop producer and businessman, was born Sean John Combs in Harlem in New York City to Melvin and Janice Combs. Combs's childhood years were spent in Harlem, where his father worked for the board of education and as a cab driver. His mother was a model. Eager to provide for his family, Melvin Combs succumbed to the lure of criminal activity, which ultimately led to his murder in 1973. In 1982 Janice moved her family to suburban Mount Vernon, New York, in an effort to escape the growing violence and unemployment in Harlem.

Following her husband s death Janice worked as a teacher s assistant bus driver and night attendant for children with cerebral palsy His mother s determination to provide for her family influenced Combs to work after school beginning at age twelve Too young to formally apply for his own paper route Combs convinced an ...

Article

Stephen Bourne

Trinidadianactor and singer who settled in Britain in 1944. Two weeks after his arrival he made his debut on BBC radio in Calling the West Indies. Connor's appealing voice and charming personality endeared him to the British public, and he became a major television and radio personality. Connor saw himself as an ambassador for Trinidad and promoted Caribbean folk music and dance wherever he could. He married Pearl Nunez (also from Trinidad) in London in 1948.

For almost two decades Connor played featured roles in a number of British and American films, including Cry, the Beloved Country (1952) and Moby Dick (1956). In 1958, when Paul Robeson turned down the role of Gower in Shakespeare'sPericles for the Stratford Memorial Theatre he recommended Connor for it Connor thus became the first black actor to appear in a Shakespeare season at ...