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5 Outstanding Black Performers to Celebrate This Black History Month – Black Girl Nerds


5 Outstanding Black Performers to Celebrate This Black History Month – Black Girl Nerds

Black performance art has been crucial to the advancement of Black culture. Anytime a Black performer comes on stage, they transmit the energy of magic and limitless possibilities. Black performers communicate the joy, sorrow, and triumph of the Black experience. This is evident through past performances such as Beyonce’s Super Bowl XLVII halftime performance that paid tribute to the Black Panthers. There was also the musical collaboration of the decade when James Brown, Michael Jackson, and Prince shared the stage in 1983 at the Beverly Theatre in Hollywood. These memorable performances wouldn’t have been possible if not for showstoppers of the past. Here are five Black performers who were revolutionary and astounding in their acts.

Ellen E. Armstrong: American Stage Magician (1914–1979) 

The term Black girl magic has been a popular term to describe women like Beyonce, Simon Biles, Issa Rae, and Zendaya. Yet the one woman who embodies the concept of magic is Ellen E. Armstrong. In the early to mid twentieth century, she was the only African American woman to independently run a touring magic show. She stepped into this role following the death of her father, J. Hartford Armstrong, “King of the Colored Conjurers,” in 1939. For 30 years she performed for Black audiences in churches and schools. She created her art for her people. Her acts included different elements such as cartoon chalk drawings, mind reading, and making a coin appear behind the ear of an unsuspecting observer. Although Armstrong performed what may now be considered simple parlor tricks, she reminds us that there is magic in us all, helping us to believe in the impossible.

Clementine Hunter, Celebrated Painter (1886–1988)

Clementine Hunter, a self-taught artist from Louisiana, didn’t know how to read or write but became a reputable artist. On wood, a left-behind window shade, plastic milk jugs, wine bottles, and other disregarded surfaces, Hunter claimed her canvas. Many of her paintings, which were done from memory, depicted Black figures in their everyday life on the plantation….

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