Ella. She was strong, she was smart, she was the most talented, and she never let the vices that took everyone else down touch her. She's one of my biggest heroes. Also, this picture rocks. Beverly Hills 1988 by Annie Leibovitz
Louis Armstrong. Armstrong's influence extends well beyond jazz music, and by the end of his career in the 1960s, he was widely regarded as a profound influence on popular music in general. Armstrong was one of the first truly popular African-American entertainers to "cross over," whose skin-color was secondary to his music in an America that was severely racially divided.