Earlier this year, in celebration of Black History Month, the Echo highlighted five unsung black artists, including local heroes like the Belleville Three and recently deceased Betty Davis.
Here are four more Black artists that deserve praise:
Detroit is home to many historical artists like Stevie Wonder, J Dilla, Diana Ross, and more. The city that is home to Motown, and currently scam rap, is also one of the first homes of punk music.
Death is made up of three brothers, Davis, Dannis, and Bobby Hackney, who recorded a demo tape in the mid-70s garnered as the very first punk album. Sadly, due to the stigma of Black artists venturing to rock and the band's name, the tape was ignored, and the group failed to acquire a record deal.
The project was later rediscovered when Bobby Hackney’s son found the tape. The music can now be heard on all streaming services.
If you grew up watching the series "Unsung," this name may be familiar to you. Though a voice many would recognize, many do not realize it as the music industry constantly hid this star.
Wash's hit songs like “Everybody Everybody” and earlier hit “I Don’t Know Anybody Else” were taken and repackaged. Instead of Wash performing the songs, music videos and performances starred model Katrin Quinol lip-syncing Wash’s vocals.
Due to fatphobia, ageism, and other factors, Wash wasn’t considered good for the public eye and subsequently lost credit for her work.
Odetta Holmes may be one of the most legendary folk singers of all time. Born in Alabama during the Great Depression, she was at her peak during the mid-1960s. Known for her powerful voice and her mixture of spirituals, blues, and folks, Gordon inspired many historical figures such as Bob Dylan, Tracy Chapman, and Janis Joplin.
In addition to her music, she is heavily associated with her activism in the civil rights movement.
From the 90s to the early 2000s, Patrick Brown had his hands all over the music scene. From TLC, Outkast, Pharrel, and more, Sleepy Brown has worked with some of the best. Part of the production group Organized Noize and the collective Dungeon Family, he helped produce, write, and perform many hit records. Though not always getting the same limelight as the acts he collaborated with, Brown is an essential part of hip-hop and R&B.
All contributing in their own way, these artists have created a plethora of work and have inspired even more. Even though the musicians have now passed or retired, they still deserve to be mentioned today so that the work and stories do not fade away.