Explore the lives of some of the most influential black musicians and singers of all time. Our Black History workshop delves into the lives of four great black artists: Nina Simone, Harry Belafonte, James Brown and Aretha Franklin. Through singing, dancing and drama activities, children will learn how these musicians redefined popular music and how they used their talents to advance the goals of the Civil Rights Movement in America.   

Known as the 'Queen of Soul', Aretha Franklin remains the most charted female artist of all time. The ultra-talented singer, songwriter and pianist won 18 Grammy Awards and her records have sold nearly 100 million copies. Franklin was a powerful and dedicated supporter of the American civil rights movement, women's rights, Native American rights and the rights of Indigenous Peoples all over the world. 

Known as the "Godfather of Soul", James Brown also practically invented Funk music and he single-handedly influenced the development of many musical genres and styles. He was also a prominent social figure for African Americans and known for songs such as "Say It Loud - I'm Black And I'm Proud". James Brown is considered quite simply one of the most important musical artists of all time.

Renowned singer, songwriter and actor; at 90 years old Harry Belafonte continues to be an important and internationally respected political Activist. Known as the "King of Calypso" Belafonte has recorded in so many musical genres. As one of Martin Luther King Jr's closest friends, he was an extremely important figure of the Civil Rights Movement and he remains an advocate for many humanitarian causes.

An extremely gifted pianist, singer and songwriter, Nina Simone was a also a prominent Civil Rights activist. Her musical style was unique in combining elements of Classical music with Jazz, Gospel, and Pop. Some of the countless musicians who have cited Nina Simone as an important influence include: Alicia Keys, Lana Del Rey, Emeli Sandé, Adele and John Legend.