Celebrating Black Music Month With Our Favorite Artists-Turned-Chefs

By Victoria Graham

Happy Black Music Month! Every June, we celebrate the artistry of Black musicians who have blessed our BBQs, family reunions and turn-ups with the grooves that make us move. What goes better with a plate of ribs and macaroni than some Frankie Beverly and Maze? Is a brunch really a brunch if there’s no Beyoncé in the background? 

But before they make it to our playlists or reach the speakers at our favorite restaurants, the art of music-making proves to be a delicate, sometimes laborious process. Creative ideas flow as lyrics and songwriting begin. Notes bring us melody, and chords add harmony. Eventually, songs form and become albums. Over time, catalogs swell and legends are born. The result is music that feeds the soul. 

But what happens when the artists who feed our soul also take on the culinary challenge to feed our bodies? As we celebrate Black Music Month this June, follow your forks to Black artists who have decided one passion was simply not enough. 

B.B. King, B.B. King’s Blues Club

BB King on stage in Toronto

Riley B. King, better known as B.B. King, is considered one of the most influential Blues musicians of all time. After a successful musical career, The King of Blues opened his flagship B.B. King’s Blues Club in Memphis, TN in 1991. Looking to provide a spark to the now famed Beale Street in Memphis, B.B. King’s Blues Club is now a Beale Street staple offering guests an unparalleled experience of live Blues music and seriously good eats centered on southern cuisine. BB’s Famous Lip Smacking Ribs have long been the star of the show, but you also can’t go wrong with a Beale Street Burger or classic Southern sides of Mac N’ Cheese or potato salad. 

B.B. King’s Blues Club now operates in four states, including another Tennessee location in Nashville and B.B. King’s second home of New Orleans

RELATED: The Best Black-Owned Hot Chicken Restaurants Outside of Nashville

Snoop Dogg, From Crook to Cook Cookbook 

Cover of Snoop Dog's "From Crook to Cook" cookbook

Snoop Dogg’s musical career needs no introduction. The L.A. native is considered an O.G. of Rap and seems to be reinventing himself with every decade. This last decade saw Snoop step into the kitchen. After forming the most unlikely of friendships with Martha Stewart, Snoop Dogg was inspired to launch his cookbook, providing simple recipes for his favorite comfort foods. Among the favorites from the cookbook is his now infamous fried chicken and incredibly fluffy pancakes. 

Continuing with his food quests, Snoop launched two wines with Australian wine brand 19 Crimes. The Snoop Cali Red debuted in 2020 and after its immediate success, the Snoop Cali Rose launched in 2021. 

RELATED: Follow Your Fork: Upscale Southern Dining at Blaqhaus NOHO

Patti Labelle, Patti’s Good Life Foods

Patti Labelle

Patti Labelle is widely considered to be the Godmother of Soul. After more than seven decades in the music industry, her status as a musical icon is undisputed. What is now also undeniable is her ability to make Sweet Potato Pie. After launching her now famed frozen Sweet Potato Pie in 2015, Patti’s Labelle’s status as a culinary gem was cemented almost immediately. 

Now Patti offers a menu of frozen comfort food options for those looking to get home cooking made easy. Sweet potato pies are joined by mac and cheese, chicken and biscuits, and black-eyed peas to name a few. Just make sure you follow the instructions written by Patti herself. 

RELATED: 5 Black Woman-Owned Bakeries

Jaden Smith, JUST Water and I Love You Food Truck 

Jaden Smith in front of his "I Love You" Restaurant

Some people just have IT. The charisma, the talent, the unique opportunities to bring thoughts to life. Jaden Smith is one of those individuals. After noticing plastic water bottles littering the beach while surfing, Jaden decided to take action. JUST Water was born. Bringing sustainability to water bottles, JUST Water is bringing the culture the pure nourishment we need to push forward. 

But what’s better than one successful endeavor? Two. Jaden also launched the I Love You Restaurant from a food truck in 2020 with the mission to to spread Love to communities experiencing food and/or housing insecurity by offering water along with fresh, high-quality, and delicious sustainable meal options.” As COVID spread across the country the need to service vulnerable populations only increased. 

RELATED: Black-Owned Environmentally Friendly Restaurants in the U.S. 

Kelis, Bounty & Full Sauces

Cover of Kelis' Cookbook "My Life on a Plate"

Kelis Rogers, known simply as Kelis, infamously redefined how we viewed milkshakes forever. But what we didn’t know at the time was the food references were just starting for the eclectic singer. 

Kelis turned her passion for music on its head with the release of her album, Food, in 2014. Offering several references to the food Kelis loves, the album set the stage for Kelis to launch into her second act: Chef Kelis. Kelis has since launched a cooking channel and a full line of sauces to bring your dishes to life. Drawing on her multi-racial identity, Kelis brings her cultural identities to form in her dishes. 

RELATED: Moroccan Lamb Recipe by Chef Samone

Jada Smith
Author: Jada Smith

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