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22 Photos That Prove Black Girls Have Been Magic For A Long Time

We're not new to this.

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1. Diahann Carroll in 1955

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All hail queen mother Diahann, who paved the way for every single black actress we love now when she became the first black woman to be the star of a network television show in Julia. Another black women wouldn't go on to do that again until 2012 when Kerry Washington got cast as Olivia Pope in Scandal.

2. Dorothy Dandridge in 1956

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This goddess made history when she became the first black woman to be nominated for an Academy Award for her role in Carmen Jones. Coincidentally, the first black woman to actually win an Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role — Halle Berry — would go on to play Dandridge in her biopic Introducing Dorothy Dandridge.

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3. Diana Ross in 1968

Larry Ellis / Getty Images

The original diva! The blueprint! We are not worthy of her greatness! You'd be hard pressed to find a music artist who wasn't influenced by this living legend. The 12-time Grammy nominee was Motown's darling, the lead singer of the Supremes, the star of classic films like Mahogany, and so much more.

4. Lena Horne in the 1950s

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This Brooklyn belle appeared in film, television, and on Broadway for 70 years. But what really made her stand out from the pack was her political activism which also got her blacklisted in Hollywood for some time.

5. Eartha Kitt in 1960

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Orson Welles once called her the "most exciting woman in the world" and that may just be true. The original carefree black girl was known to speak her mind and wore many hats as an actress, singer, cabaret star, dancer, stand-up comedian, activist and voice artist. In 1953 two of her songs, "Santa Baby" and "C'est Si Bon" made the US Top Hits list.

6. Mary Wells in 1963

Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

This striking beauty was Motown's first big star and helped shape the iconic record label's original sound in the 1960s with hits like the Grammy-nominated "You Beat Me to the Punch" and "My Girl."

7. Tina Turner in 1983

Keystone / Getty Images

This woman became the queen of rock and roll, a three-time Grammy winner, and one of the best selling artists of all time despite being contantly being knocked down both literally and figuratively. She is the original comeback queen who taught women the power of strength and resiliency. WERK Ms. Turner!

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8. Pearl Bailey in 1945

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This actresses and singer definitely made the world her oyster. She won a Tony, had a top ten hit and received both the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Not too shabby Pearl!

9. Hilda Simms in 1947

Denis De Marney / Getty Images

This beauty left college to pursue acting and eventually became best known for her starring role on Broadway in Anna Lucasta. She also looks like her selfie game would've been solid gold, amirite?

10. Cicely Tyson in 1973

Dennis Oulds / Getty Images

I mean, where do I begin? Ms. Tyson – who is still kicking ass, winning Tony awards, and dropping gems of wisdom wherever she goes to this day – has been killing the game in TV, movies, and on Broadway since the 1960s. She has been nominated and/or won almost every big award out there from the Emmys to the Academy Awards — you name it, they've recognized her greatness. BOW DOWN!

11. Josephine Baker in 1951

AP Images

She was the first black woman to star in a major motion picture, Zouzou. She also became the first to be a world-famous entertainer after leaving the U.S. for France because she refused to perform for segregated audiences. Talk about taking a stand!

12. Ruby Dee in 1962

Library of Congress

This actress, poet, playwright, screenwriter, journalist and activist, probably best known for her role as Ruth in A Raisin in the Sun, had a career that spanned decades. She even managed to nab an Oscar nominee as recently as 2007 before passing in 2014. She and her husband Ossie Davis were also one of the most iconic black hollywood couples of all time.

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13. Nina Simone in 1964

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Nina MF Simone recorded over 40 albums during her career. FORTY. The singer and pianist sang, wrote, and arranged her own music which ranged over many genres including classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel, and pop. Netflix also recently released a documentary about her entitled What Happened Miss Simone?

14. Billie Holiday (date unknown)

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She was queen of the blues, the singer that pioneered a new style of vocal delivery/improvisation for jazz music, and so much more. Frank Sinatra told Ebony in 1958, "Lady Day is unquestionably the most important influence on American popular singing in the last twenty years" in addition to being his single greatest influence. Slay, sis.

15. Bessie Smith in 1924

AP Images

The Empress, as they called her, was the biggest female blues singer in the 1920s and 1930s. Her influence helped make room for singers like Billie Holiday. Her story even helped Queen Latifah win a Screen Actor's Guild Award for playing her in the HBO biopic Bessie.

16. Sarah Vaughan in the 1940s

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This Grammy-award winning jazz singer was described as having "one of the most wondrous voices of the 20th century." Also important to note that her hair accessory game was on point.

17. Donna Summer in 1979

Nick Ut / AP

Let me give you a quick education on the Queen of Disco. She was the first artist — period — to have three consecutive double albums reach No.1 on the Billboard charts, and charted four No.1 singles in one year. She also sold over 140 million records. Oh and did I mention she's won five Grammys? Yeah, she was everything.

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18. Aretha Franklin in 1968

Express Newspapers / Getty Images

The Queen of Soul really needs no introduction. The woman has EIGHTEEN Grammys, 112 charted singles (making her the most charted woman of all-time), and has sold over 75 million records worldwide. She was also the first woman ever inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and ranked No.1 on Rolling Stone's Greatest Singers of All Time list. Ms. Franklin continues to perform to this day, including the 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama. If that's not worth a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T I don't know what is.

19. Nina Mae McKinney in 1949

John D. Kisch / Getty Images

Often called the first black movie star, Nina made a name for herself staring in postwar period in theatre, film and television. Her stunning features made her a hit in Europe where the called her the black Greta Garbo. Her work helped set the foundation for other actresses like Dorothy Dandridge and Lena Horne to play "black temptress" roles.

20. Theresa Harris in 1940

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She was a triple threat who acted, danced, and sang in many movies like Hold Your Man, Baby Face, and Professional Sweetheart. She is the inspiration behind the 2011 inspire the play “By the Way, Meet Vera Stark.”

21. Roberta Flack in 1969

Jack Robinson / Getty Images

She was the first singer to win the Grammy for Record of the Year two consecutive times and known for her No.1 hits like "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face", "Killing Me Softly with His Song," and "Feel Like Makin' Love," plus her many duets with Donny Hathaway.

22. Tammi Terrell (date unknown)

Rb / Redferns

If you've been wondering who to thank for night's of karaoke spent singing "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" it's this woman right here. She and Marvin Gaye's series of duets are legendary, and she was definitely taken from us too soon. Also, her eyeliner is so perfectly winged an angel must've been on hand to apply it every single time she stepped on stage.

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