Black Music Greats: 40 inspiring icons

Written by: Olivier Cachin

Illustrated by: Jérôme Masi

For ages: Middle Grades, ages 8 and up

Language: English

Topics Covered: Black Culture & Identity, Music, History, American History, Trailblazers, Women in Music, Non-Fiction. 


This is a beautiful and amazing book that takes the reader on a winding journey of music history! The layout of the book makes it easy to flip through and find artists in specific genres or eras in addition to reading straight through.

If you grew up like I did, listening to Motown, you’ll be excited to see favorites like Diana Ross and The Surpremes!  The book profiles current day musicians as well such as Missy Elliott, Rihanna, and The Weekend.  Did you know that The Last Poets are also called the “grandfathers of rap”?  There is so much and more you will find out in between the covers of this gorgeous book from Quarto.

The reader learns tidbits about each artist like musical stylings, selected discography, and a short history.  This breaks down the information in a way that isn’t overwhelming and makes it easy for readers to remember.  The illustration style is graphic and cartoonish without resembling a caricature drawing.  This is an important book because it uplifts and recognizes all of the musical artists that have impacted history.  In a world where so many trends and characteristics of Black culture are co-opted by white people, this book is a true celebration of Black excellence in music.


Olivier Cachin is a journalist, writer and lecturer. The founder of L’Affiche magazine and of the television show Rapline, he has been editor in chief of hip hop magazine Radikal and is the author of some fifteen publications, including L’Offensive Rap, 100 Albums Essentiels Du Reggae and the biography of Michael Jackson (Pop Life, which went on to become a bestseller). Every Friday he is on air with the radio station Mouv’ with his show La Sélection Rap. He lives and works in Paris.


Jérôme Masi is a French illustrator and artistic director.
He was born in 1977.  After living a long time in Lyon, he now lives in Annecy.

Jérôme graduated from the Emile Cohl school in Lyon in 2001, and enjoyed working in a variety of areas from video games to artistic directing, from film directing to illustrating. In 2010 Jérôme decided to focus on his own creative style through vector illustration.

Recently, Jérôme has taken up paint brushes again to illustrate this synthetic and minimalistic universe on various noble mediums to create unique and contemporary art.

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