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Toni Braxton Opens in Beauty & the Beast - September 9, 1998

Source: Ron Galella / Getty

As if being blessed with an award-winning voice wasn’t enough, many of our favorite music-makers in Black culture have also made it their mission to prove themselves on the Broadway stage as well — we’re not mad at the extra career-load, either! In all actuality, most entertainers vying for that coveted EGOT recognition know that it’s customary to make a crossover into musical theater if you truly want to be seen as someone who can do it all.


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Being a captivating presence on Broadway while also being a Billboard darling is not a feat that comes easy. That’s why we applaud all of our brothers and sisters who dedicated both time and effort in order to perform nightly, oftentimes multiple shows in a day, while still maintaining a career in the music industry as a recording artist. From vets to the game like Toni Braxton (seen above) and Vanessa Williams, who both proved on multiple occasions over the years how their voices transcend from the studio to the stage, to newer acts like Fantasia that just recently took Broadway fame to Hollywood heights with the upcoming 2023 film adaptation of The Color Purple musical, we decided to take a moment during Black Music Month to pay homage where it’s clearly due.




Starting in the ’50s with Harry Belafonte and his pioneering, Oscar-winning performance in John Murray Anderson’s Almanac, you’ll discover that many of your favorite mainstays on the Billboard charts throughout history were also getting the job done equally well when it came to dominating musical theater as well.

Take a look at 15 of our favorite Black musicians that took Broadway by storm, and let us know if we made a mistake and looked over any award-worthy performances that stood out to you:

The post Black On Broadway: 15 Trailblazing Musicians Who Brought Color To Musical Theater appeared first on Black America Web.

Black On Broadway: 15 Trailblazing Musicians Who Brought Color To Musical Theater  was originally published on

1. Harry Belafonte in ‘John Murray Anderson’s Almanac’ (1954)

2. Vanessa Williams as Aurora in ‘Kiss Of The Spider-Woman’ (1993)

3. Toni Braxton as Belle in ‘Beauty And The Beast’ (1998)

4. Heather Headley as Aida in ‘Aida’ (2000)

5. Mos Def (Yasiin Bey) as Booth in ‘Topdog/Underdog’ (2002)

6. Sean Diddy Combs as Walter Lee in ‘A Raisin in the Sun’ (2004)

7. Tevin Campbell as Seaweed J. Stubbs in ‘Hairspray’ (2005)

8. Usher as Billy Flynn in ‘Chicago’ (2006)

9. Fantasia as Celie in ‘The Color Purple’ (2007)

10. Raven-Symoné as Deloris Van Cartier in ‘Sister Act’ (2012)

11. Billy Porter as Lola in ‘Kinky Boots’ (2013)

12. Deborah Cox as Lucy in ‘Jekyll & Hyde’ (2013)

13. Keke Palmer as Cinderella in ‘Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella’ (2014)

14. Brandy as Roxie Hart in ‘Chicago’ (2015)

15. Jennifer Hudson as Shug Avery in ‘The Color Purple’ (2015)