Pioneer Women: Black Entertainers Who Did It First

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  • Ethel Waters
  • Whitney Houston
  • Ella Fitzgerald
  • Dorothy Dandridge
  • Hattie McDaniel
  • Beyonce, Vanessa Williams
  • Cheryl Boone Isaacs
  • Halle Berry
  • Beyoncè
  • Tyra Banks
  • Aretha Franklin
  • Vanessa Williams
  • Esther Rolle
  • Cicely Tyson
  • Beverly Johnson

Ella Fitzgerald

It didn't take long for the recording industry to recognize this once-in-a-lifetime talent. Fitzgerald became the first Black woman to win a Grammy Award in 1958, the inaugural year of music's highest honor. 

(Photo: John Downing/Express/Getty Images)

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