10 Legendary Black Singers Who Risked It All by Refusing to Perform for Segregated Audiences


Eartha Kitt

Eartha Kitt saw Billie Holiday as an influence in her singing career. She also related to Holiday’s fight against racism. When Kitt made it big in the 1950s, the cabaret star had a stipulation in her contracts refusing to work in front of segregated audiences in the United States.


Ray Charles

Ray Charles was involved in the Civil Rights Movement. He quit performing for segregated audiences long before it was a publicized thing to do – and he was sued. When he performed in South Africa before the anti-apartheid protest of the 1980s, he continued to strictly play for integrated crowds.


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