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Celebrating Black Music Month wallpaper design with glowing music signs and colorful typography

Source: Muhammad Farhad / Getty

As you know, June is Black Music Month, and we are paying homage to the artists that have made their mark on the industry…including those hailing from the Tarheel State.

North Carolina has a rich musical heritage, especially in Black music. Of course, we know some major names with known NC roots, from soul singers Fantasia and K-Ci & JoJo to hip-hop heavyweights like 9th Wonder, Rapsody and J. Cole. However, there are some other big names in the business that a lot of us may not know have NC roots!

Here are some of the legendary Black music icons that originally called North Carolina “home.”

BMM: Did You Know These Legendary Black Artists Are From North Carolina?  was originally published on foxync.com

1. Roberta Flack

The soulful voice behind classics like “Killing Me Softly (With His Song)” and “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” hails from Black Mountain

2. Nina Simone

Born Eunice Waymon in 1933, the prodigy from Tryon would become one of the greatest jazz musicians of all time. 

3. George Clinton

Who knew that someone from NC could be this funky?! This Kannapolis-born founder of Parliament-Funkadelic literally wrote the book on funk. 

4. Ben E. King

The Henderson native made his name for himself as the lead singer of The Drifters and, later, as a solo act with the eternal hit, “Stand By Me.”

5. Jermaine Dupri

That’s right, folks! The man who put Atlanta on the musical map was actually born in North Carolina…Asheville, to be exact!

6. Maceo Parker

Hailing from Kinson, this world-renowned saxophonist has worked with the likes of James Brown, Bootsy Collins, Prince, Red Hot Chili Peppers and more. 

7. John Coltrane

The saxophone great, known for his influence on the genre known as Bebop, was born in Hamlet

8. Thelonius Monk

This Rocky Mount native was a force, becoming one of jazz’s greatest pianists and composers.