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To celebrate Black History Month, Capital hears from some of the most inspiring black musicians in the world of pop on who and what inspires them.
Barack Obama is close friends with the 'Crazy In Love' singer and husband Jay-Z, and thinks the Destiny's Child star is someone his own family can look up to. During a fundraiser the couple held for the US leader, he said: "Beyonce could not be a better role model for my girls because she carries herself with such class and poise and has so much talent." Picture: BarackObama Twitter
He's always at the fore of pushing boundaries and musical expectations. He's worked with stars from all walks of life in the music world and has even made history as the first artist to beam a song live from Mars. The Black Eyed Peas man is always looking to better himself and wants his country to share the same ambitions. Speaking about Black History month and some of the greatest black musicians, he said: "At this point of time in American history the NAACP has to push even harder than it did before. Blacks being able to vote and Obama in the White-House...!! Quincy Jones, Berry White and Berry Gordy forced America to acknowledge black artists."
The music world was saddened earlier this year when it lost one of the greatest voices of all time, Etta James. Tributes from the music world poured in, including one from Beyonce - who depicted the late star on screen in the movie Cadillac Records. She wrote: "Her musical contributions will last a lifetime. Playing Etta James taught me so much about myself, and singing her music inspired me to be a stronger artist. When she effortlessly opened her mouth, you could hear her pain and triumph. Her deeply emotional way of delivering a song told her story with no filter. She was fearless, and had guts. She will be missed."
He's the undisputed King of Pop and is missed by millions every day, and his contributions to the music world are seemingly endless as his music continues to inspire future generations of artists. Jay-Z tried to put into words the importance of the 'Billie Jean' star to the world. "I try to look for the meaning in things that happen, and it was a tragedy that Michael Jackson passed away, especially for his kids. But on the other side, I think it gave Michael a chance to be celebrated for the genius he was without all the other stuff in the way, and I don’t know if that would ever have happened had he been alive."
The R&B star has managed to stay at the top of the game for almost two decades. His ability to adapt, influence and entertain is unmatched and his dance moves would make an episode of Strictly Come Dancing look like white noise. He's faced hardships in his personal life and always keeps a smile on his face for his fans. He once said: "Strivers achieve what dreamers believe." We couldn't agree more.
She's one of the most recognisable faces in the world of music, with her eccentric style and colourful hair. The rapper has come up against walls as she looks to cement herself among the great hip-hop artists of all time, and she was recently handed the position as judge on American Idol. She called the appointment a "milestone for hip-hop" and "young black women". She said: "Has there ever been a black woman [judging] on the show? This is a show that 20 million people watch so I feel like we should be represented on that show and I'm very proud of my decision to do it."
Frank surprised the world when he penned a truly heartfelt message on his Tumblr account revealing his first love was a man. His coming out was greeted with huge applause from the world of music who praised his bravery. Beyonce penned a poem as a tribute to the 'Channel Orange' star on her website. It read: "Be fearless/ Be honest/ Be generous/ Be brave/ Be poetic/ Be open/ Be free/ Be yourself/ Be in love/ Be happy/ Be inspiration.
"I'm very flattered, Alicia Keys is one of the most talented people around, her boyfriend Swizz (Beatz) is a great producer. Those two working on Rapture - I was very honoured they'd do it." Few artists can do a cover of a song and then receive a huge compliment for their rendition from the original artist. That's exactly what happened to Alicia Keys when she and husband Swizz Beatz performed a rendition of Blondie's 'Rapture'. The band's lead singer Debbie Harry said: "I'm very flattered, Alicia Keys is one of the most talented people around, her boyfriend Swizz (Beatz) is a great producer. Those two working on 'Rapture' - I was very honoured they'd do it." There are few people in the world who would be able to find a bad word to say about the US star who continues to shine in the music industry.
The 'We Found Love' singer was criticised by many for forgiving Chris Brown after he assaulted her three years ago, which lead to the end of their relationship. Rumours have been rife that the pair have got back together and the Bajan star admitted she still loved Chris during an in-depth conversation with Oprah Winfrey earlier this year. The host admitted the singer's ability to forgive should be commended and treated as a lesson to others as she looks to inspire. "You know what I loved about that interview is that she came with a big, wide open heart. She was in the space of forgiveness. And that she learned a lesson, that she was repeating with Chris Brown exactly what she needed to learn from her father," she said.
The R&B star has tried to answer his critics within his music. At the start of the year he revealed he would be not doing interviews all year as he wanted his songs to do the talking - it paid off for the star who picked up best R&B album at the 2012 Grammy Awards and his ex-girlfirend Rihanna admitted how impressed she was with the star's transformation. "It's incredible to see how he pulled out the way he did. Even when the world seemed like it was against him, you know? I really like the music he's putting out. I'm a fan of his stuff. I've always been a fan."
He's been a prominent figure in the world of music since his first single in 1962. He's performed with everyone from Marvin Gaye to Alicia Keys and from Michael Jackson to Drake. He once said: "Just because a man lacks the use of his eyes doesn't mean he lacks vision." There are fewer bigger inspiration stars in the world, let alone the world of music as his career continues to inspire new generations of music fans.