Black History Now 2021

Honor the Achievements of Black Artists

Black artists have provided insight, conversation starters, entertainment, and influence on our culture.  Here we are highlighting a few familiar names.

Tim Reid – Did you know he founded his own “Millennium Studios” for television and movie productions in Petersburg?  This Norfolk born and educated (including a BS degree in business and Marketing from Norfolk State) is an award-winning actor, director and producer. Following an international tour with Della Reese, he settled in Hollywood to pursue his entertainment career. He wrote many of the episodes of his many characters he played, including one of his most notable, that of “Venus Flytrap” on WKRP in Cincinnati.

Tim Reid
Tim Reid
Missy Elliot

Missy Elliot – Did you know she is a four-time Grammy winner and considered to be the top female Hip Hop artist of all time?  This Portsmouth native has a multifaceted career as a songwriter, rapper, singer, dancer and producer. She has collaborated with many other greats on projects including the late Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, Beyonce, and Mariah Carey.

Ella Fitzgerald – Did you know among her many worldwide honors, in 1987 she was awarded the Nation Medal of Arts by President Reagan, one of her most cherished moments.  This Newport News native had a rough start to her singing career, but at age twenty-one, she recorded a fun version of a children’s nursery rhyme “A Tisket, A Tasket” which soared to number one, staying there for seventeen weeks, and selling over a million copies.  She became known as “The First Lady of Song” selling over forty million albums and the most popular female jazz singer for five decades.

Listen to her sing:

Here are the lyrics so you can sing along:

A-Tisket A-Tasket
A brown and yellow basket
I sent a letter to my mommie
On the way I dropped it
I dropped it, I dropped it
Yes on the way I dropped it
A little girlie picked it up
And put it in her pocket
She was truckin’ on down the Avenue
Without a single thing to do
She was peck, peck, peckin’ all around
When she spied it on the ground
She took it, She took it
My little yellow basket
And if she doesn’t bring it back
I think that I will die

A-Tisket A-Tasket
I lost my yellow basket
And if that girlie don’t return it
I don’t know what I’ll do
Oh dear, I wonder where my basket can be
Oh gee I wish that little girl I could see
Oh why was I so careless with that basket of mine
That itty bitty was a joy of mine

A-Tisket A-Tasket
I lost my yellow basket
Won’t someone help me find my basket
And make me happy again again
(Was it green?)
No, no, no, no
(Was it red?)
No, no, no, no
(Was it blue)
No, no, no, no
Just a little yellow basket

Ella Fitzgerald
Ella Fitzgerald

These famous artists were all born in Hampton Roads. There are so many more from Virginia.

Check out the Virginia.org’s list of “Notable Black Virginians.”  How many do you recognize?