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Celebrate Black History Month: Revisit 10 Major Grammy Winners

What do Black History Month and the Grammys have in common? February! Relive crowning Grammy moments from iconic black artists like Ray Charles, Jay-Z and Whitney Houston
 / February 1, 2013

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While music fans await the 2013 Grammy Awards next Sunday, February 1 kicks off Black History Month, a tradition dating back to the 1920s that's important in its own right.

To celebrate the notable achievements of African-American musicians, we took a look back at some of the greatest musicians as indicated by their many, many Grammy awards—the golden standard in music. 

While there are generations of influential artists that never won a gramophone, the Grammys remain an important benchmark in many artists' careers. Kick your month off right with some of the most awarded African-American artists and one of their epic Grammy performances. Happy February indeed.

Stevie Wonder

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Grammys: 25

Huge Grammy Moments: 

  • Winning FIVE Grammys in one night in 1973, 1974 AND 1976
  • Earning awards in four decades: 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s (so far)
  • Bringing out three different pianos to play during his 1985 performance of "Part Time Lover" (above)

Aretha Franklin

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Grammy Wins: 18

Huge Grammy Moments: 

  • Picking up her first two Grammys in 1967 for now signature track "Respect" (an Otis Redding cover)
  • Filling in for ailing opera singer Luciano Pavarotti to perform "Nessun Dorma" with less than 24 hours prep (above)
  • Tributed in a 2011 with a medley by Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Hudson, Martina McBride, Yolanda Adams and Florence Welch

Kanye West

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Grammys: 18

Huge Grammy Moments: 

  • Winning Best Rap Album for his debut The College Dropout at the 2004 awards
  • Nabbing four awards in 2007 and doing it AGAIN in 2011
  • Performing an emotional tribute to his late mother with "Hey Mama" in 2008 with the words "Mama" shaved into his head

Ray Charles

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Grammys: 17 

Huge Grammy Moments: 

  • Posthumously winning FIVE awards for his Genius Loves Company album in 2004
  • Being inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame in 2011
  • Giving The Beatles' classic "Eleanor Rigby" a jazzy makeover live in 1990

Beyonce

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Grammys: 16

Huge Grammy Moments: 

  • In 2010, won SIX awards—a new record for most wins by a female in one night
  • Performing with Prince in 2004 and Tina Turner in 2008
  • Beckoning a dove to fly to her hand at the finale of her 2004 performance of "Dangerously in Love" (above)

Jay-Z

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Grammys: 14

Huge Grammy Moments:

  • Winning three awards in 2009
  • Doing it AGAIN with another three in 2010
  • Performing with Paul McCartney AND Linkin Park in one of the most epic mash-ups in history with "Numb," "Encore" and "Yesterday" in 2006 (above)

Alicia Keys

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Grammys: 14

Huge Grammy Moments:

  • Making a BIG statement with her debut album, Songs in A Minor, winning FIVE awards at her first Grammys in 2002
  • Tangoing through her a Latin-styled medley of hits "Fallin'" and "A Woman's Worth" in 2002 (above)
  • Paying tribute to the late Etta James in an acoustic performance of James' classic "Sunday Kind Of Love" alongside Bonnie Raitt

Michael Jackson

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Grammys: 13

Huge Grammy Moments: 

  • Sweeping with EIGHT wins in 1983 for Thriller—a record!!
  • Winning awards in the pop, rock, R&B, children's music and producer categories
  • Stirring souls with a minimal stage setup for a gospel rendition of "Man In The Mirror"

Chaka Khan

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Grammys: 10

Huge Grammy Moments: 

  • Winning awards across four decades in the 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s—so far!
  • Sharing wins with Ray Charles (1990) AND Mary J. Blige (2007)
  • Breaking it down on stage with Grand Master Melle Mel in a feel-good performance in 1985

Whitney Houston

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Grammys: 6

Significant Grammy Moments: 

  • Making a big splash with her self-titled debut album nominated for Album Of The Year and then winning Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female for "Saving All My Love" (she performed it too, above)
  • Winning Album of the Year (for The Bodyguard soundtrack) AND Record Of The Year (for "I Will Always Love You") in 1993
  • Honored with a performance by Jennifer Hudson when she died a day before the awards in 2012

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