Honoring Black Music Month & Juneteenth: 19 Influential Texas Musicians

In honor of Juneteenth and Black Music Month, the team at The Chocolate Voice compiled a list of 19 musical artists from Texas who have significantly impacted the music industry.

A Brief History of Juneteenth and Black Music Month


Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced the end of slavery, over two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. This day became a celebration of freedom and African pride, with early observances starting in 1866 through church-centered community gatherings in Texas. On June 17, 2021, President Joe Biden signed a bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday, the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was designated in 1983.

Black Music Month:

Black Music Month was founded in 1979, largely credited to Philadelphia soul pioneer Kenny Gamble. Initially created to promote, protect, and perpetuate the business of Black music, it aimed to boost retail sales and awareness for Black artists. Over the years, it has evolved, but its essence remains in celebrating the contributions and influence of Black music. Each June, it is recognized with a presidential proclamation, emphasizing the significance of Black music in shaping American culture. President Biden celebrated this year’s Black Music Month with a Juneteenth concert featuring prominent artists like Patti LaBelle and Kirk Franklin.

Nineteen Influential Texas Musical Artists

  1. Beyoncé (Houston) One of the best-selling music artists of all time, with a record 32 Grammy Awards, 26 MTV Video Music Awards, 24 NAACP Image Awards, 35 BET Awards, and 17 Soul Train Music Awards.
  2. Destiny’s Child (Houston) Grammy Award-winning girl group featuring Beyoncé, Kelly Rowland, and Michelle Williams.
  3. Kelly Rowland (Houston) Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter and member of Destiny’s Child.
  4. Letoya Luckett (Houston) Singer-songwriter, actress, and former Destiny’s Child member.
  5. Erykah Badu (Dallas) Grammy Award-winning Neo-Soul singer known for her unique sound and influence on the genre.
  6. Leon Bridges (Fort Worth) Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter recognized for his soulful voice and throwback style.
  7. Megan Thee Stallion (Houston) Multi-award-winning rapper known for her powerful lyrics and dynamic performances.
  8. Tevin Campbell (Waxahachie) Singer-songwriter known for hits in the 90s such as “Can We Talk” and “I’m Ready.”
  9. Bobbi Humphrey (Marlin) Renowned jazz flautist who has made significant contributions to jazz and R&B.
  10. Hubert Laws (Houston) Jazz flutist, part of a musical family including Ronnie, Debra, and Eloise Laws.
  11. Gary Clark Jr. (Austin) Acclaimed blues guitarist and singer known for his genre-blending style.
  12. Kirk Franklin (Fort Worth) Award-winning gospel singer, choir director, and record producer known for leading urban contemporary gospel and Christian R&B ensembles.
  13. Robert Glasper (Houston) Grammy-winning pianist and record producer, known for blending jazz with other genres such as hip-hop and R&B.
  14. Larry Graham (Beaumont) Bassist and baritone singer, known for his innovative slap-bass technique, and uncle of rapper Drake.
  15. Mickey Guyton (Arlington) Award-winning country music artist breaking barriers in a traditionally white-dominated genre.
  16. Tamela Mann (Fort Worth) Multi-award-winning gospel and R&B artist known for her powerful voice and acting career.
  17. Yolanda Adams (Houston) Multi-award-winning gospel artist celebrated for her inspirational music and soulful voice.
  18. Joe Sample (Houston) Jazz fusion keyboardist and founding member of The Jazz Crusaders.
  19. Johnnie Guitar Watson (Houston) Grammy-nominated electric guitarist known for his innovative blues and funk style.
  20. Jamie Foxx (Terrell) Oscar-winning actor, singer, and comedian with a successful career in both music and film.
  21. Solange Knowles (Houston) Award-winning singer-songwriter known for her unique artistic vision and influence on contemporary music.
  22. Sam John “Lightnin’” Hopkins (Centerville) Influential country blues singer and guitarist, considered one of the greatest blues musicians of all time.
  23. Bun B (Port Arthur), is an American rapper known for being one-half of the Southern rap duo UGK (Underground Kingz), alongside the late Pimp C. Bun B, whose real name is Bernard Freeman, has also established a successful solo career. He is highly regarded in the hip-hop community for his lyrical prowess and contributions to the Southern rap genre. Apart from his music career, Bun B is known for his involvement in education and community activism.

These artists reflect the rich musical heritage of Texas and the profound impact of Black musicians on various genres and the music industry as a whole.

Okay so, we got carried away. We added three more. Thank you Texans!

If we left someone off, let us know please.

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