Olufela Sowande (Fela) Obafunmilayo (1905-1987)

Image Ownership: Public Domain Musician, composer, professor, and conductor Fela Sowande was born May 1905 in Abeokuta, Nigeria.   He was the son of Emmanuel Sowande, who was an Anglican priest and influential in the development of Nigerian sacred music.  Fela Sowande was a musician and … Read MoreOlufela Sowande (Fela) Obafunmilayo (1905-1987)

Beyoncé Giselle Knowles (1981- )

Image Ownership: Public Domain Beyoncé Giselle Knowles, one of the most successful African American women artists in today’s music industry, was born on September 4, 1981 in Houston, Texas, to Mathew and Célestine Ann Knowles. Her father was a salesman and her mother owned a … Read MoreBeyoncé Giselle Knowles (1981- )

Leonard Reed (1907-2004)

Leonard Reed, noted dancer and entertainment businessman, co-created the famous Shim Sham Shimmy tap routine that has been replicated for centuries by tappers the world over. He was also associated with Joe Louis (1914-1981) during the heavyweight boxer’s efforts to break down golf’s color barrier. … Read MoreLeonard Reed (1907-2004)

Lorenzo “Rennie” Harris (1963- )

Image Ownership: Public Domain Rennie Harris, hip hop dancer, artist, teacher, artistic director, choreographer, and founder of Rennie Harris Puremovement (RHPM), was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1963. At the age of 15, Harris began teaching workshops and classes at universities around the country, educating … Read MoreLorenzo “Rennie” Harris (1963- )

William Henry/Master Juba Lane (1825-c. 1852)

William Henry Lane is credited as one of the most influential figures in the creation of American tap dance. Lane developed a unique style of using his body as a musical instrument, blending African-derived syncopated rhythms with movements of the Irish jig and reel. Lane’s … Read MoreWilliam Henry/Master Juba Lane (1825-c. 1852)