BLACK VOICES

15 Times Black Artists Used Their Voices To Change The World

From Nicki to Akon, find out what your favorite celebs are all about.

Sometimes, recording artists are more than just hit songs and fashion trends. 

Recently, Janelle Monae leveraged her public platform by leading a rally against police violence. Drake performed an act of kindness prior to his rap battle with Philly'€™s own Meek Mill when he donated money to a local high school to build a recording studio for students. 

We’ve decided to highlight what notable black artists really stand for.

  • Janelle Monae & Wondaland (“Hell You Talmbout”/Black Lives Matter rally)
    Janelle Monae&rsquo;s Wondaland labelmates have been <a href="http://www.nbcbayarea.com/entertainment/Janelle-Monae-Rally-Sto
    Kevin Winter/Getty Images
    Janelle Monae’s Wondaland labelmates have been leading rallies across the country against police violence in support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. To underscore their initiative, the group recorded a protest-themed song titled, “Hell You Talmbout,” to highlight victims of race related violence.  
  • Beyonce (Survivor Foundation)
    <span>Queen Bey isn&rsquo;t only known for running the world with her chart-topping hits, she also provided housing for Hurri
    Mike Coppola via Getty Images
    Queen Bey isn’t only known for running the world with her chart-topping hits, she also provided housing for Hurricane Katrina victims in 2005 through her Survivor Foundation
  • Will.i.am (The i.am.angel Foundation)
    The Black Eyed Peas frontman&rsquo;s<a href="http://iamangelfoundation.org/"> i.am.angel foundation </a>provides financial su
    C Flanigan/FilmMagic
    The Black Eyed Peas frontman’s i.am.angel foundation provides financial support for college students through its scholarship program. Since its launch in 2009, the program has awarded more than $800,000 to qualifying students in need of financial support, according to the organization’s website. 
  • Nas (Opportunity Fund)
    Following the <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/nas-harvard-fellowship_n_4603978">establishment of his Harvard Universi
    Prince Williams/WireImage
    Following the establishment of his Harvard University fellowship, the veteran rapper partnered with a New York-based tech educator, General Assembly, Google and Microsoft to launch the Opportunity Fund to provide tech scholarships to women, African-American and Latino students.
  • Jay Z (Shawn Carter Foundation)
    Established as a public charity in 2003 with his mother, Gloria Carter, Jay Z's <a href="https://www.shawncartersf.com/">Shaw
    Alberto E. Rodriguez/WireImage
    Established as a public charity in 2003 with his mother, Gloria Carter, Jay Z's Shawn Carter Foundation has provided annual college tours, counseling initiatives, and other programs to empower youth and communities in need.
  • Nicki Minaj (“Pink Friday” initiative)
    Leading up to the release of her 2010 album, &ldquo;Pink Friday,&rdquo; Minaj <a href="http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/
    Leon Bennett via Getty Images
    Leading up to the release of her 2010 album, “Pink Friday,” Minaj partnered with retailers CompUSA and TigerDirect to turn the annual shopping day of Black Friday "pink" to raise funds for breast cancer research. 
  • Alicia Keys (Keep A Child Alive Foundation)
    In 2003, Alicia Keys co-founded the <a href="http://keepachildalive.org/keepachildalivewithaliciakeys/">Keep a Child Alive fo
    Shareif Ziyadat/Getty Images
    In 2003, Alicia Keys co-founded the Keep a Child Alive foundation in an effort to fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa and India.
  • Kanye West (Donda'€™s House)
    Following a string of performances during his 2015 Louis Vuitton Foundation concert series, Kanye West <a href="https://www.h
    Prince Williams/WireImage
    Following a string of performances during his 2015 Louis Vuitton Foundation concert series, Kanye West donated $133,000 of the event's proceeds to Chicago arts institution, Donda'€™s House.
  • Mariah Carey (2013 MLB All-Star Charity Concert)
    As part of the recovery efforts for Superstorm Sandy victims, Carey performed during the <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/en
    Jim Spellman via Getty Images
    As part of the recovery efforts for Superstorm Sandy victims, Carey performed during the 2013 MLB All-Star Charity Concert. The pop diva’s benevolent efforts has also afforded her the Congressional Award in 1999 for her contributions to youth charities and nonprofit organizations. 
  • Akon (Akon Lighting Africa initiative)
    After landing success on the music charts, the Senegalese-American singer is planning to bring electricity to 600 million peo
    Kevin Mazur/WireImage
    After landing success on the music charts, the Senegalese-American singer is planning to bring electricity to 600 million people in Africa through his Akon Lighting Africa initiative. To supplement the campaign, the mogul launched the “Solar Academy” in 2015 to give African engineers and entrepreneurs the skills needed to develop solar power on the continent.  
  • Kendrick Lamar (Reebok initiative)
    Not only did Kendrick Lamar team up with Reebok to design his own line of sneakers this year, the Compton native also aims to
    Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic
    Not only did Kendrick Lamar team up with Reebok to design his own line of sneakers this year, the Compton native also aims to leverage his partnership to assist the youth. Together, Lamar and the sneaker giant will develop programs designed to keep kids off the streets.
  • Prince ('Rally 4 Peace')
    Prince performed&nbsp;during the <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/prince-rally-for-peace_n_7257984">'€˜Rally 4 Peace'€
    Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic
    Prince performed during the '€˜Rally 4 Peace'€™ concert following the death of Baltimore resident Freddie Gray, who died from spinal cord injuries he sustained during an arrest. A portion of the concert's proceeds went towards the funding of Baltimore youth charities.
  • Rihanna (The Clara Lionel Foundation)
    In honor of her grandparents, Clara and Lionel Brathwaite, the international pop star launched the <a href="http://claralione
    Jon Kopaloff via Getty Images
    In honor of her grandparents, Clara and Lionel Brathwaite, the international pop star launched the Clara Lionel Foundation (CLF) in 2012 to provide grant funds promoting health, education, arts and culture globally.    
  • Lil Wayne (Opens up skate park in New Orleans)
    Weezy&rsquo;s affinity for all things skating prompted the rapper to opening an eco-friendly <a href="http://espn.go.com/acti
    Christopher Polk/BET/Getty Images for BET
    Weezy’s affinity for all things skating prompted the rapper to opening an eco-friendly New Orleans skate park in 2012. Upon the park’s opening, the New Orleans native cited to the Associated Press that he wanted to help out his city and “help out the people and the kids and give them something to do, something they haven't done before.” 
  • Drake (Donated $75K to Philadelphia school for recording studio)
    Prior to his rap battle with Philly'€™s own Meek Mill, the Toronto native <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/philadelphi
    George Pimentel/WireImage
    Prior to his rap battle with Philly'€™s own Meek Mill, the Toronto native donated $75,000 to the city'€™s Strawberry Mansion High School to build a recording studio for students.

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