Beyoncé celebrates 29 iconic Black female musicians on her ‘Break My Soul’ remix

·9 min read

Beyoncé is paying tribute to the revolutionary Black women who have shaped the music industry.

On Friday, Aug. 5, the singer released a remix of “Break My Soul,” the lead single off her seventh studio album “Renaissance.” The new version — titled “Break My Soul (The Queens Remix)” — is a collaboration with Madonna that samples the pop legend’s 1990 hit “Vogue.”

During the song's iconic bridge when Madonna names numerous luminaries of dance, Beyoncé instead honors the many Black female singers who have influenced multiple genres of music in the past —and a few in the present

“Jilly from Philly, I love you, boo / Don’t just stand there, get into it / Strike a pose, there’s nothing to it / Vogue!” Beyoncé belts during one verse, referencing Jill Scott.

“The Queens Mix” also highlights fellow Destiny’s Child members Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams, as well as Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin and Rihanna. Grace Jones —who is featured on the “Renaissance” track “Move” — gets two mentions.

Grace Jones, Nina Simone, Betty Davis, Diana Ross and Anita Baker are just five of the women celebrated on he track (Bob King/Anthony Barboza/Harry Langdon/David Redfern/Joe McNally / Redferns/Getty Images)
Grace Jones, Nina Simone, Betty Davis, Diana Ross and Anita Baker are just five of the women celebrated on he track (Bob King/Anthony Barboza/Harry Langdon/David Redfern/Joe McNally / Redferns/Getty Images)

Take a look at the 29 Black female musicians that Beyoncé celebrates on 'Break My Soul (The Queens Remix)':

Aaliyah

Photo of AALIYAH (Sal Idriss / Redferns)
Photo of AALIYAH (Sal Idriss / Redferns)

Deemed the “Princess of R&B,” Aaliyah combined pop, R&B and hip hop with her smooth vocals to create hits like “Are You That Somebody” and “Try Again.” The singer tragically passed away in a plane crash in August 2001 at the age of 22.

Anita Baker

break my soul queens remix (Harry Langdon / Getty Images)
break my soul queens remix (Harry Langdon / Getty Images)

Anita Baker has blessed us with some of the best ballads of all time. Her vocals in “Sweet Love” and “Giving You the Best That I Got” reach the octaves that make any professional singer jealous.

Alicia Keys

Since her breakthrough release of “Songs in A Minor” and first single “Fallin”  in 2001, Alicia Keys has captivated fans with her incomparable piano skills. In 2009, Keys and Beyoncé teamed up for the roaring  track “Put It in a Love Song” on Keys’ fourth studio album.

Aretha Franklin

Portrait Of Aretha Franklin (Anthony Barboza / Getty Images)
Portrait Of Aretha Franklin (Anthony Barboza / Getty Images)

The “Queen of Soul” is undoubtedly one of the greatest artists and vocalists of all time. She dominated the radio for multiple decades.  Franklin, who died in 2018, delivered hit after hit with “Respect,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “You’re All I Need To Get By” and so many more.

Bessie Smith

Bessie Smith (Smith Collection/Gado / Getty Images)
Bessie Smith (Smith Collection/Gado / Getty Images)

Bessie Smith, also known as the “Empress of the Blues,” became synonymous with the blues during the Jazz Age. Some of her most well-known songs are “Summertime” and “Down Hearted Blues.”

Betty Davis

Portrait Of Betty Davis (Anthony Barboza / Getty Images)
Portrait Of Betty Davis (Anthony Barboza / Getty Images)

Betty Davis was a trailblazer who impressed listeners with her risque lyrics and her sound, which included funk, soul and rock influences. The “Nasty Gal” singer died in February 2022 at the age of 77.

Chloe Bailey

US-ENTERTAINMENT-MUSIC-RECORDING ACADEMY-HONORS-LEGEND (PATRICK T. FALLON / AFP via Getty Images)
US-ENTERTAINMENT-MUSIC-RECORDING ACADEMY-HONORS-LEGEND (PATRICK T. FALLON / AFP via Getty Images)

As one-half of the Grammy-nominated R&B duo Chloe X Halle, Chloe Bailey and her sister have been mentored by Beyoncé throughout their careers. Older sister Chloe Bailey has recently released a few solo singles like “Have Mercy” and “Treat Me” and plans to drop her debut album soon.

Halle Bailey

Freeform's
Freeform's

Halle Bailey, just like her sister, has worked closely with Beyoncé. The duo are signed to Parkwood Entertainment–the “Halo” singer’s management company and record label. Halle Bailey will portray Ariel in the upcoming live-action “The Little Mermaid.”

Diana Ross

Diana Ross Performs In Dublin (ShowBizIreland / Getty Images)
Diana Ross Performs In Dublin (ShowBizIreland / Getty Images)

A living legend, Diana Ross began her career as the lead singer in the Motown-era group The Supremes. After being in one of the most successful girl groups of all time, Ross went solo and released songs like “I’m Coming Out” “Upside Down” which kept her on top of the charts for years.

Erykah Badu

Portrait Of Erykah Badu (Anthony Barboza / Getty Images)
Portrait Of Erykah Badu (Anthony Barboza / Getty Images)

There will never be an artist as effortlessly cool as Erykah Badu. The songwriter is the face of neo soul and the vocalist behind earworms like “Bag Lady” and “On & On.”

Grace Jones

A View To A Kill (Keith Hamshere / Getty Images)
A View To A Kill (Keith Hamshere / Getty Images)

As a model, singer and actor, there is nothing Grace Jones cannot do. The Jamaican native started as a successful model before launching her music career. She embodied the Studio 54, disco eras.

Janet Jackson

Janet Jackson Portrait Session (Getty Images)
Janet Jackson Portrait Session (Getty Images)

Janet Jackson is cemented in history as one of the best live performers of all time. Her choreography and elaborate music videos have impacted every generation that has followed her. “All For You,” “Rhythm Nation,” “Escapade” and “Nasty” are just a few of the bops she has in her catalog.

Jill Scott

Photo of Jill SCOTT (Sal Idriss / Redferns)
Photo of Jill SCOTT (Sal Idriss / Redferns)

After beginning her career as a spoken word artist, Jill Scott shifted her focus to music and penned lyrics for her debut album “Who Is Jill Scott?: Words and Sounds Vol. 1.” Her second studio album, “Beautifully Human: Words and Sounds Vol. 2” gifted us with “Golden,” the ultimate pump-up song.

Scott responded to her inclusion on Twitter, writing: "I’m in tears. Ya’ll know I’m in tears. You KNOW!!"

Kelly Rowland

Along with childhood best friend Beyoncé, Kelly Rowland became famous in the late 1990s as a member of Destiny’s Child. Rowland has gone on to become an actor and television presenter while balancing her solo music career. “Dilemma,” “Motivation” and “Gone” are some of her best solo singles.

Lauryn Hill

Portrait Of Lauryn Hill (Anthony Barboza / Getty Images)
Portrait Of Lauryn Hill (Anthony Barboza / Getty Images)

Lauryn Hill first showed off her rapping, singing and songwriting skills as a member of the Fugees. She then went on to release “The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill”-- her first and only studio album–with the  hits “Doo Wop (That Thing” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.” The album earned her five Grammy wins, including album of the year.

Lizzo

The “About Damn Time” and “Truth Hurts” singer is currently celebrating the recent release of her album “Special.” After learning she was mentioned in Beyoncé’s song, Lizzo reacted on Twitter.

“I ALWAYS BELIEVED IN ME NOW BEYONCÉ BELIEVE IN ME TOO,” she tweeted along with a video of her listening to the track.

Michelle Williams

Michelle Williams joined Destiny’s Child in 2000 and added to the group’s sound with her gospel background. In 2002, she released her debut gospel album, “Heart to Yours.” On her last studio album, “Journey to Freedom,” bandmates Beyoncé and Rowland joined her for the song “Say Yes.”

Missy Elliot

FYF Fest 2017 - Day 1 (Christopher Polk)
FYF Fest 2017 - Day 1 (Christopher Polk)

Missy Elliot’s catalog speaks for itself. “Get Ur Freak On,” “Work It” and “Lose Control” are classics that played everywhere during the early 2000s. She also helped propel Ciara’s career by rapping on “1, 2 Step.”

Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj attends Marc Jacobs SS18 fashion show during New York Fashion Week at Park Avenue Armory on September 13, 2017 in New York City. (Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images)
Nicki Minaj attends Marc Jacobs SS18 fashion show during New York Fashion Week at Park Avenue Armory on September 13, 2017 in New York City. (Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images)

Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj have teamed up together to release multiple hits, so it is no surprise she received a shoutout.  The two collaborated for “Feeling Myself” on Minaj’s album “The Pinkprint” in 2914 before reuniting a few months later for a remix of “Flawless” on Beyoncé’s self-titled album.

Nina Simone

Portrait Of Nina Simone (Jack Robinson / Getty Images)
Portrait Of Nina Simone (Jack Robinson / Getty Images)

Nina Simone was known for being a musician as well as a civil rights activist. In addition to powerful tracks like “Feeling Good” and “I Put a Spell On You,” Simone used her jazz and blues songs to also address racial injustices.

Rihanna

Rihanna and Beyoncé have been the faces of the music industry for over two decades. Maybe this shoutout means Rihanna’s highly-anticipated follow-up to 2016’s “Anti” will include a Beyoncé feature.

Roberta Flack

The 17th Annual Grammy Awards (CBS Photo Archive / CBS via Getty Images)
The 17th Annual Grammy Awards (CBS Photo Archive / CBS via Getty Images)

Roberta Flack partnered with Donny Hathaway and Peabo Bryson for duet albums, but she also has plenty of solo hits. Some of her biggest singles are “Killing Me softly with His Song” and “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.”

Rosetta Tharpe

Sister Rosetta Tharpe Portrait (Michael Ochs Archives)
Sister Rosetta Tharpe Portrait (Michael Ochs Archives)

Sister Rosetta Tharpe used her unparalleled guitar skills to amplify her gospel and blues songs. She is one of the pioneers of rock and roll music.

Sade

Portrait Of The Singer Sade (Paul Natkin / Getty Images)
Portrait Of The Singer Sade (Paul Natkin / Getty Images)

Sade gets a shoutout in “Break My Soul (The Queens Remix)” when Beyoncé says her full name — Helen Folasade Adu. With her distinct tone and style, Sade’s songs, like “Smooth Operator” and “Cherish the Day,” are instantly recognizable. The singer, who takes long breaks in between music releases, contributed to the soundtrack for Ava DuVernay’s movie “A Wrinkle In Time” in 2018.

Santigold

Santigold will release her first studio album in six years, “Spirituals,” on Sept. 9. The “Disparate Youth” singer thanked Beyoncé on Twitter for referencing her in the “Break My Soul” remix.

“Thanks to @beyonce Queen Bey for shouting me out amongst these greats, and even more for takin’ it back!” she wrote. “Letting the people KNOW about all these Black women, powerful powerful spirits, many of whom never received the acknowledgment they deserved!”

Solange

The 59th GRAMMY Awards - Press Room (Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images)
The 59th GRAMMY Awards - Press Room (Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images)

Beyoncé always takes time to celebrate her younger sister, Solange Knowles, who joined her on stage for a Coachella performance in 2018.

Solange earned her first Grammy in 2017 for the song “Cranes in the Sky” off her critically-acclaimed third studio album “A Seat at the Table.” Her fourth album, titled “When I Get Home” was released in 2019.

Tierra Whack

2019 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival - Weekend 2 - Day 1 (Rich Fury / Getty Images for Coachella)
2019 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival - Weekend 2 - Day 1 (Rich Fury / Getty Images for Coachella)

Rapper Tierra Whack dropped her debut album “Whack World” in 2018. The following year, she collaborated with Beyoncé for “The Lion King: The Gift” album.

Tierra Whack shared a clip from “Break My Soul (The Queens Remix)” on Instagram on Saturday.

“MY GOOD SIS @beyonce GON ALWAYS SHOW LOVE!” she said in the caption.

Toni Braxton

36th Annual Grammy Awards held at Radio City Music Hall (Images Press / Getty Images)
36th Annual Grammy Awards held at Radio City Music Hall (Images Press / Getty Images)

Toni Braxton, a seven-time Grammy winner, was immediately successful with her self-titled debut album, which featured the song “Breathe Again.” Her follow-up, “Secrets,” includes one of the most well-known R&B ballads ever–”Un-Break My Heart.”

Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston (Mirrorpix / Getty Images)
Whitney Houston (Mirrorpix / Getty Images)

It’s fitting that this list ends with Whitney Houston, whose vocal abilities cannot be replicated. The singer behind “Saving All My Love for You” “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)” and “I Will Always Love You” broke records throughout her career. According to her website, she is the only artist to have seven consecutive singles reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.