Black History Month | Heroes in Music, Art, and Literature

MY HERO Celebrates Black History Month. Learn about Heroes in Music, Art, and Literature

Black History Month
Credit: Robert Shetterly

Art, Music and Literature

African American artists have been innovators and revolutionaries. In music alone, they have brought blues, jazz, rock and roll, and hip hop into the world.

The Harlem Renaissance movement supported writers and musicians in their efforts to describe the lives of African Americans, with pride and with great sorrow. Pain and prejudice are only some of the facets of human experience that these artists express in their works. 

African American visual artists are storytellers who use their unique experience to create  multimedia art forms that resonate with a larger audience. The film Black Panther represents a significant achievement for bringing this hero story into our mainstream culture.

Duke Ellington

By: Wynton Marsalis
Duke Ellington inspires Pulitzer Prize-winning musician Wynton Marsalis.

Ella Fitzgerald

By: Julie from Selden
Ella Fitzgerald was a beloved songstress who used her success to help people of all races, cultures and beliefs.

Louis (Satchmo) Armstrong

By: Yusuke from San Diego
Louis (Satchmo) Armstrong is one of the most successful and influential jazz musicians in history.

Zora Neale Hurston

By: Robert Shetterly, Americans Who Tell the Truth

Langston Hughes was nicknamed the Poet Laureate of Harlem.
Langston Hughes
Credit: Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes

By: Robert Shetterly

James Baldwin by Robert Shetterly,

By: Robert Shetterly
Civil Rights activist and writer James Baldwin portrayed as an American Who Tells the Truth by Robert Shetterly

James Baldwin

By: Eric from Elmhurst
James Baldwin was a famed African American novelist and essayist whose writings dealt with homosexual issues before the gay liberation movement.

Maya Angelou

By: Susannah Abbey
Maya Angelou is a beloved female author and poet.

Portrait of Maya Angelou
Credit: Sergio Benenson

Jacob Lawrence

By: Kristin Myer
Jacob Lawrence broke racial barriers as a renowned painter.

Wynton Marsalis

By: The My Hero Project
Wynton Marsalis is dedicated to passing on the benefits of music education to young people.

Toni Morrison Portrait by St George

By: Saint George
Toni Morrison is an American novelist, editor, and Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. Her novels are known for their epic themes, vivid dialogue, and richly detailed characters.

Alice Walker by Robert Shetterly,

By: Robert Shetterly
Alice Walker, African American author of Color Me Purple, painted by Robert Shetterly


By: Sarah Bamford

credit for photo: Beyonce for Elle Magazine May 2016


Spike Lee

By: Alex from New York
Spike Lee is a significant African American filmmaker who explores race relations in modern society.

Ryan Coogler - Filmmaker Hero

Produced by:MY HERO
As a student filmmaker at USC, Coogler showed great potential with his short films. In 2010 he was awarded with best college narrative in the MY HERO International Film Festival with his short film "Locks".

Women Transforming Media: Gabrielle Gorman

Produced by:Xenia Shin, Jeanne Meyers, et al.
Emerging filmmaker Gabrielle Gorman's poetic filmmaking confronts issues like identity, racism and self-love. We talk to the 2016 MY HERO International Film Festival Student Honoree, National Young Arts alumna in Cinematic Arts and Presidential Scholar finalist about how she wants to make art for social change.

MY HERO Project spotlight on Trey Carlisle

Produced by:The MY HERO Project
Meet 2016 Emerging Artist Trey Carlisle.


Organizer created on 1/27/2019 8:30:51 PM by MY HERO Staff

Last edited 3/7/2019 2:00:52 PM by Xenia Shin