The third and final installment in The Technique’s multi-part segment to celebrate Black artists’ place in art, popular culture and entertainment is here. In the previous part, the Technique celebrated contemporary artists like SZA, blues giants like Ray Charles, and pioneering filmmakers like Ryan Coogler.
While Black artists have pioneered many an art form, many have yet to receive proper recognition. The Technique hopes to remedy this oversight with several more artists the staff thinks demand attention and praise.
Uchenna Godwin-Offor, Contributing Writer
Diana Ross is an American singer-songwriter and actress and is most famous for being the lead singer of the vocal group “The Supremes.” The all-girls group became Motown’s most successful act in the 1960s. Ross’ stardom would only reach the tip of the iceberg with this already successful group; she flipped the iceberg “Upside Down” with her solo career.
Ross continued to release hit after hit on her own while partnering with Black entertainment legends such as Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie and Marvin Gaye. She also became the first entertainer in Japan’s history to receive an invitation to perform in front of Empress Nagako of the Imperial Palace of Japan. Then, in 1974, she became the first Black woman to co-host the Academy Awards. Her most successful album held her namesake (“Diana”). This album had the top hits “I’m Coming Out” and “Upside Down.” The epitome of Black excellence with an infallible legacy, many would say that Diana Ross was “The Boss.”
Jannat Batra, Managing Editor
Ayoni might not have been in the music industry too long, but she is an artist to keep an eye on. The 20-year-old rising star was born in Barbados but raised in Singapore and the United States; her music style is heavily influenced by the different cultures she grew up in. Her style can not be defined by one genre, each track “genre-bends” based on the vocals and lyrics, but all draw heavily on her Barbadian roots, R&B, blues and pop.
When Ayoni was a junior at University of Southern California, she released her first single “Divine” and received rave reviews. She then released her debut album, “Iridescent,” in late 2019 and has since garnered critical acclaim for her unique sound. A standout track from the album is “September,” in which Ayoni laments the loss of a lover in September, but reminds the listener that once September ends, October will come with new opportunities. Through the other tracks on the album, Ayoni continues to explore her experiences as a Black woman with love, loss, sexism, spirituality and racism.
Samuel L. Jackson
Jack Cronin, Entertainment Editor
It does not take a hipster to appreciate the icon that is Samuel L. Jackson. Born in Washington D.C. in 1948, the prolific actor has more than 180 acting credits. The man takes throwaway roles and recreates them in his own image; just look at Marvel’s Agent Fury and Mace Windu from Star Wars. In the latter of the two, he requested a purple lightsaber so he would stand-out — and he is indeed one of the only standouts in those lousy prequels. Gravitas does not even begin to describe the way his swagger and charisma bursts out of the screen and into viewers’ lives.
Despite having hundreds of roles, Jackson was late to bust into the mainstream American scene. Although he had appeared in “School Daze” and “Do the Right Thing,” he still was subsequently relegated to the outskirts of mainstream fare like 1990’s “Goodfellas” and 1993’s “Jurassic Park.” The American public is surely glad he endured, though, because he has been nothing but a star since appearing in Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” in 1994 at the age of 47.
Still, he has shockingly never won an Academy Award. But for the 71-year-old Jackson, age shows no signs of slowing him down, and hopefully the 2020s will bring him the Oscar he deserves.
Taylor Gray, Editor-in-Chief
It’s no secret that Lizzo is taking over the world right now. The singer-songwriter, rapper, dancer, flutist and fashion icon rose to fame after her single “Truth Hurts” blew up on TikTok.
Her most recent album, “Cuz I Love You,” has racked up numerous award nominations and helped her bring home three Grammys for Best Urban Contemporary album, Best Pop Solo Performance for “Truth Hurts” and Best Traditional R&B Performance for “Jerome.”
What makes Lizzo especially special is that she is the epitome of self love and body positivity. Not only is she unapologetically her whole self on stage and off, she also provides inspiration and opportunities for other plus sized women. Accompanied by “The Big Grrrls,” her body diverse troupe of curvy background dancers, Lizzo utilizes her platform to the fullest extent to celebrate bodies of all sizes, and serves as one of the most prominent role models for plus sized girls everywhere.
Maya Flores, Assistant Entertainment Editor
In 2009, Donald Glover was introduced to the world as Troy Barnes, a lovable and relatable former jock in the hit NBC comedy “Community.” Five years later, in 2014 when he only appeared in the first five episodes of the show’s fifth season, many speculated that Glover was leaving to pursue a rapping career. This speculation was the result of several mixtapes that Glover had released under the stage name Childish Gambino, but it was not until 2011 that he came out with his first original album.
The album, “Camp,” was well received both commercially and critically, but was soon surpassed by its successor, the cult classic “Because the internet.” Marked by the two singles “3005” and “Sweatpants,” Gambino’s second album showcases his witty verses influenced by his time in comedy. His third album, “Awaken, My Love!” is a stark comparison to his other music, featuring more traditional sounds of soul, funk, and R&B. The album featured the highly popular single “Redbone,” which won Gambino his first Grammy in 2018.
In addition to his records, Glover has had quite the career on screen. Glover writes, stars in, produces, and occasionally directs the show “Atlanta,” and has also appeared in movies like “Solo” and “Spiderman: Homecoming.”
Whatever you want to call him, Glover or Gambino, he has been at the forefront of pop culture for the past decade.