Black Music Month is in full swing here at Black America Web, and we decided to get a bit creative with our latest editorial by presenting you all with some of our favorite fictional Black musicians from popular movies and television shows.
First thing’s first: who’s your favorite superstar singer that never actually existed?
We could spend all day in the land of fiction listening to some of these artists, whether it’s the sinister-yet-successful rap star Lucious Lyon from FOX’s hit series Empire, an ultimate survivor like The Bodyguard’s diva in distress Rachel Marron or the pint-sized vocal titan Tomika “Songbird” from 2003’s Jack Black-starring music comedy School Of Rock.
While you’ll never find an album from any of these talented acts at your local record shop — not including official movie & TV soundtracks, of course! — we decided to create a fun list where all of us dreamers can appreciate these make-believe musicians for simply existing for our entertainment.
From “wedding band” Randy Watson and Sexual Chocolate, who maaaay or may not appear in the Coming 2 America sequel, all the way to the heavenly Deloris Van Cartier of Sister Act fame, keep reading to escape from reality for a bit with these 10 fictional Black musicians we love:
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1. Bleek Gilliam
Mo Better Blues
Played by: Denzel Washington
We’ll save you the Google search: Denzel is not actually playing the trumpet in this film! Both him and Wesley Snipes got training in mimicking their instrumental skills by real-life musicians Terence Blanchard and Donald Harrison.
2. Deloris Van Cartier
Played by: Whoopi Goldberg
We’re literally thanking the heavens for blessing us with this breakout role from Queen Whoopi!
3. The Five Heartbeats
The Five Heartbeats
Played by: Robert Townsend, Michael Wright, Leon Robinson, Harry J. Lennix and Tico Wells
Any music biopic you’ve seen after 1991, and yes that includes The Jacksons: An American Dream, owes a debt to the amazing performance that each of these guys gave us in this classic film. Some people still believe The Five Heartbeats are a real R&B group!
4. Lucious Lyon
Played by: Terrence Howard
Say what you want about his character — trust, we know there’s a lot that can be said! — but Lucious Lyon definitely deserves some credit for turning his family into a musical dynasty. One tough-yet-talented cookie, indeed.
5. Randy Watson and Sexual Chocolate
Coming To America
Played by: Eddie Murphy (lead vocals), Tori Ruffin (guitarist), Brice Sterling (keys), Melvin Davis (bass), Karl Denson (sax) and Jeffery Suttles (drums)
The only thing funnier about the sheer presence of Randy Watson and Sexual Chocolate in the Coming To America film series is that, as Ruffin confirmed to Tulsa World earlier this year, the band was actually told to play bad on purpose. Now that’s talent!
6. The Dreamettes
Played by: Jennifer Hudson, Beyoncé Knowles and Anika Noni Rose
Regardless of who you consider to be the star of the group, all three soulful divas took their real-life vocal talents to help give us a reimagined tale of Diana Ross and The Supremes. Justice for Effie though, still!
7. Rachel Marron
Played by: Whitney Houston
The soundtrack alone gave Whitney Houston real-life success on the charts, selling 45 million copies worldwide to become the most successful soundtrack album of all time in addition to nabbing Nippy a GRAMMY for “Album Of The Year” in 1994. Maybe Rachel Marron was real all along?
8. Ashley Banks
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Played by: Tatyana Ali
One thing the affluent Ashley Banks taught us about going for your goals is that it doesn’t matter how rich you are if the talent isn’t there first. Then again, it also doesn’t hurt have a super supportive big cousin like Will.
School Of Rock (film)
Played by: Maryam Hassan
Although the youngest rock star on our list, Tomika is without a doubt the one with the most potential. We can only imagine that in the almost two decades since “Songbird” was a fifth grader at Horace Green Prep School that she went on to either be a stage-stealing vocal powerhouse or a music teacher herself.
10. Mercedes Jones
Played by: Amber Riley
With all the talent that ran through the halls of Glee‘s fictional William McKinley High School, it was without a doubt Miss Mercedes Jones that’s voiced echoed with the loudest conviction. We hope that opening gig for Beyoncé turned into solo success!