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The annual celebration encourages us to honour black people and recognise their significant contributions to history, a key contributor being their extraordinary influence on the music industry.

Whether you focus on Jimi Hendrix or Aretha Franklin, there’s no denying their music continues to influence artists as the years go by. We took a dive into the history of music to identify just a few of our favourite black artists (in no particular order!). Find out if your favourite is on the list!

Aretha Franklin performing in Chicago in 2018 / Photo Credit: Chicago Tribune/TNS/ABACA/PA Images

Prince

A stranger to nobody, Prince and his wide vocal range arose and took the 80s by storm. He’s a legend in his own right who worked across various genres and created the iconic Purple Rain; the stellar hit and movie that would go on to define the generations that followed. 

Aretha Franklin

The title Queen of Soul defines itself. An activist for civil and women rights, Aretha Franklin and her song Respect became an anthem for progression towards social change. Her colossal impact on the soul genre is unmatched. 

Jimi Hendrix

Hendrix began playing guitar at the age of 15, and little did he know that he would go on to become one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of music and achieve three UK top ten hits: Hey Joe, Purple Haze and The Wind Cries Mary. He pushed the boundaries of the rock and roll genre and transformed it completely. 

Stevie Wonder

A child prodigy, at just 13 Wonder topped the Billboard Hot 100 charts with his hit Fingertips, making him the youngest artist ever to top the chart. What makes his success in the music industry all the more incredible is his ability to write, produce, sing and play a variety of instruments despite the fact that he lost his sight completely as a child   

Nina Simone

An advocate for racial equality, Nina Simone’s music not only impacted the music world but also culture in general. An enigma of a woman, her music spanned through a range of genres including jazz, blues, folk, gospel and pop. Throughout her career she recorded 40+ albums, her debut being Little Girl Blue, which featured the hit I Loves You, Porgy

This October we’re celebrating Black History Month by pressing play on the songs that epitomise black excellence. Make sure to check out our playlist below! Plus, if you enjoyed this, take a look at our celebration of the 10 black female artists who shaped pop music.



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Julia Roberts | Julia Roberts’ Pretty Woman boots to go up for auction

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Julia Roberts’ iconic ‘Pretty Woman’ boots are being auctioned off.

The 52-year-old actress donned a classic pair of shiny black high-heeled boots in the 1990 movie, which has since formed most memorable screen-style moments.

And now, the boots worn in the Garry Marshall movie could be owned by one lucky fashion fanatic, as they are set to go up for auction as a part of Prop Store’s annual live auction.

The auction will feature iconic items not only from the hit 1990 film, but also from an array of movies and TV shows, including ‘Friends’, ‘The Matrix Reloaded’, ‘Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith’, ‘Batman’, and more.

The shoes are expected to sell for between $13,000 and $19,000, and hopeful bidders can stake their claim on the boots between December 1 and 2, which is when the auction goes live.

Anyone looking to place a bid will have to register first though, and registration is open from now until October 29.

Meanwhile, Julia was honoured with the Style Icon Award at the 2018 InStyle Awards, and said she felt undeserving of the accolade because she “never ever” goes shopping, and instead just chooses “the right stuff” that her style team brings for her to look at.

She said: “When you’re popular and tall, you just have these incredibly smart people to your house with racks of stunning things. And so, this award is for being good at saying, ‘Oh, I think that, that one.’ I went from pointing at the right stuff. That’s honestly the whole thing. I never go shopping. I just said I wanted to wear these shoes and that makes me somehow great in a very pretend way.”

And Julia also said she would give “credit” for her style choices to her younger self, as she said she used to make bold decisions even if they didn’t look great.

She added: “If I were to take any credit, I would thank 22-year-old version of me, who wore, ad nauseam, a sort-of-like high-ranking naval jacket that I found at a vintage store with inexplicable black-and-white horizontal striped leggings and thought I was fantastic. For that girl, I thank you.”



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Album of the Week: Walking in The Black Parade with My Chemical Romance

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We almost can’t believe that it’s been 14 years since we picked up My Chemical Romance‘s seminal third album The Black Parade, and yet some of us still have no trouble singing the lyrics to every single song. It was the pinnacle of our emo fantasies and, while we’ve moved on since then, truly worth celebrating.

My Chemical Romance – The Black Parade

It was the year of Evanescence’s Call Me When You’re Sober, AFI’s Miss Murder and Fall Out Boy’s Dance, Dance, but it was Welcome to the Black Parade by My Chemical Romance which stole our hearts away.

Produced by Rob Cavallo (Green Day, Goo Goo Dolls), The Black Parade is a rock opera about an individual with cancer (“The Patient”), reflecting on his illness, his death, the afterlife and indeed the way he lived his life. The concept of a Black Parade represents the idea of a fond childhood memory symbolising the arrival of death; in this case, watching a marching band with his father.

The Black Parade presented more theatrical but no less lugubrious themes than their previous album Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge, and reached number 2 in both the US and UK charts with single Welcome to the Black Parade topping the latter’s singles chart.

Perhaps the most memorable aspect of the album was the video for the hit song directed by Samuel Bayer, which debuted an iconic look for My Chemical Romance; namely frontman Gerard Way’s cropped blonde hair and the band’s rather dapper military drummer uniforms in the vein of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Every teenager wanted a black jacket with too many buttons, and gold-embroidered epaulettes after that.

More memorable moments came from I Don’t Love You, the especially rowdy Teenagers, and of course Famous Last Words. Not only was the latter one of the most infectious tracks on the record, it also turned into quite the physical trauma for the band who sustained a number of injuries while filming the video. From drummer Bob Bryar’s third degree burns and subsequent gangrene to Gerard Way being hospitalised with muscle tears, it landed them in a most ironic predicament.

The album sold 4 million copies worldwide and was followed by their biggest ever tour at that point. In 2016, they celebrated the album’s tenth anniversary with a special re-release entitled The Black Parade/Living with Ghosts which featured a number of previously unreleased demo and live tracks.

For its time it was the perfect teen rock album and will always remain part of the soundtrack of the mid to late 2000s, even if it isn’t the most timeless of records.



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Selma Blair | Selma Blair wore Draper James to Legally Blonde reunion

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Selma Blair wore a Draper James outfit to the virtual ‘Legally Blonde’ reunion this week.

The 48-year-old actress took part in an online reunion for the cast of the 2001 comedy movie – in which she played Vivian Kensington – this week, which was set up and hosted by Reese Witherspoon, who played lead character Elle Woods.

And to commemorate the special occasion – which marked almost 20 years since the cast last got together – Selma decided to wear a brand new outfit from Reese’s own clothing line, Draper James, which she described as “perfectly playful”.

Writing on Instagram, Selma explained: “What an excellent day was had yesterday… basking in the golden light of nostalgia and today. The warmth and fun of all of the artists, writers, and glam and wardrobe crews… To be a character in this hollywood classic that Elle Woods brought to sparkling life… it feels good.

“And then this perfect playful outfit (for the Vivian Kensington in all of us) arrived from Reese. By Reese. A lovely respite. I’m going to watch legally blonde with my son this week. Perhaps. If he will sit still. (sic)”

Draper James was founded by Reese in 2015, with the goal of bringing together “classic American style” with “Southern charm”.

And Reese, 44, previously said she created the brand because she didn’t think the fashion industry was catering to southern style.

She said: “I don’t know why New York and LA have become the places that dictate how everyone else is supposed to live. There’s this whole world in-between of people who love style and have incredible taste.

“We create things that remind us of our southern upbringings and want everything we put out there to bring you joy and be something you’ll have forever.”



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