Artists & Their Art

  • art n artists


    In music, dance, theater, film, literature and visual arts, Blacck people have given the world some of its most dynamic and lasting examples of creative expression. Here we highlight just a few of the men and women whose art has inspired, challenged, and entertained us.

Day 1 - A is for Artists and their Art

Ernie Barnes, Painter, 1938-2009

  • the dunk

    "The Dunk" by Ernie Barnes. His work may be familiar, having appeared on the TV show "Good Times," as the work of the show's artist son JJ.  At age 18, when visiting the North Carolina Museum of Art, Barnes asked to see "paintings by Negro artists."  The docent responded, “Your people don’t express themselves that way.” 23 years later in 1979 Barnes returned to the museum for a solo exhibition. Read more about this NFL player turned artist at erniebarnes.ccom.

Raphael Saadiq, Musician, b. 1966

  • saadiq

    Raphael Saadiq, a Grammy nominated singer/producer is a Castlemont alum, c. 1984. As Raphael Wiggins, he was an original member of the R&B group Tony! Toni! Tone!, famous for their hits "Anniversary" and "Feels Good."  He has been a solo artist since 1997, releasing 5 albums, and collaborating with the likes of Whitney Houston, Snoop Dogg, and John Legend. #knightproud


Cicely Tyson, Actor, 1924-2021

  • CTE

    Cicely Tyson. “My art had to both mirror the times and propel them forward,” she writes (in her new memoir, "Just As I Am"), “I was determined to do all I could to alter the narrative about Black people — to change the way Black women in particular were perceived, by reflecting our dignity.” She said that in 1972 and kept her vow until passing in January 2021 at age 96.  In "Sounder," "Roots," and "The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman," among dozens of other roles, Cicely Tyson was the definition of dignity and grace.

Misty Copeland, Dancer, b. 1982

  • copeland 2

    Misty Danielle Copeland is an American ballet dancer for American Ballet Theatre, one of the three leading classical ballet companies in the United States. On June 30, 2015, Copeland became the first African American woman to be promoted to principal dancer in ABT's 75-year history. Read more about this groundbreaking artist here.

Ta-Nehisi Coates, Writer, b. 1975