Before They Were Famous: 14 High School Pics of Of Our Favorite Black Female Singers

October 2, 2012  |  
1 of 15

Ever wondered what some of your favorite black female singers looked like before they hit the life of the rich and the famous? Here are 14 of our favorite female singers in pictures from high school!




Whitney Houston

Nicki Minaj

Jennifer Hudson

Lauryn Hill

Macy Gray



Alicia Keys

Keri Hilson

Toni Braxton


Trending on MadameNoire

View Comments
Comment Disclaimer: Comments that contain profane or derogatory language, video links or exceed 200 words will require approval by a moderator before appearing in the comment section. XOXO-MN
  • Craig D. Casimir

    the pics of keri hilson, alicia keys are aretha franklin are really attractive

  • noneya

    Dang Macy Gray has always looked old AF I see. Haha!

  • Nikki

    Why is it Black People automatically assume other Black people have had nose jobs? I know they can afford it but not everyone is gun ho to go under a knife. Surgery is serious business. I cannot say with absolute certainty that none of them have been under the knife nor can any of you say they absolutely have been. But what I do believe is that make up can change the whole look of a person. Oprah is a perfect example. There are some pictures where her nose looks so skinny and then when you see her without makeup you realize it was makeup that made her look that way. I have a college friend who uses make up to make her nose look skinnier than it actually is. So that is why I know it can be done. Don’t be so quick to assume they just opted for surgery. Like I said not everyone is gun ho to go under a knife regardless if they can afford it or not. However, I have seen some youtube video saying both Rihanna and Beyonce bleached their skin and these pictures totally disprove that theory. I never believed that either.

  • Kenya Wilcox


  • Thenji Maynard

    Whitney Houston and Rihanna were very beautiful teenagers. Aretha, well, she was the queen even back then. Flawless skin.

  • randomtandem

    this whole thread on Beyonce’s age discrepancy is hilarious. LOL@someone saying she was born in the 70s. I cant. Poor Beyonce. There are pics of 14 people on here and people are still focused on Beyonce. She always stands out.

  • randomtandem

    Mya still looks the same. Macy Gray looked old as hell. You sure thats from high school? She looked like somebody in high school’s MAMA!

  • Andrani

    Lauren Hill. Absolutely gorgeous.

  • Pingback: 12 Celebrity High School Pictures |()

  • Drew

    Lauryn Hill for the win, y’all. Man, she was gorgeous. And, then a Marley happened to her… SMMFH

  • SUN

    It irritates me when people go on about Bey saying she has lightened her skin and had a nose job, She has never really had strong black features and to me she looks no different. Gorgeous then,Gorgeous now.

  • msgrace

    Y does it say favorite black female singers? Y can’t it just be favorite female singers? We hear the name, we see the face, we know they are black …Y is that even mentioned? Emphasizing unnecessary doltishness as if it matters

  • giselle

    I bet Jennifer Hudson cringes at the site of those crochet braids

  • Mark Thomas

    I wonder how much outrage there would be if the headline read: “…our favorite white female singers:.

    • Telena

      Shut up White boy.

  • alan


  • Blayke_Love

    she actually was 9 on Star search….

  • Angela

    “which is why her har is long” LOL! So black people are genetically incapable to have long hair? The only way a black person could have length is if they’re mixed with another race?

  • Regina

    Keri, Nikki, Rihanna, Mya are entertainers they are not singers.

  • Keri Hilson looks like a computer generated age progression of a missing
    child…Whitney was gorgeous…and I think Ashanti’s middle name is
    pronounced sha-koy-yah…smh at Tina Douglas on that one lol I
    am beautiful woman and I love good man…..inter racial romance is my dream… so I
    joined —blackwhitePlanet.С0M—–it’s where to- connect with
    beautiful and excellent people! I mean have you ever seen a pic of Jlo, Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Aniston
    just to name a few before they were famous or without make up, they’re
    not earth shattering beauties.

  • Whitney’s smile is just electric!! Beautiful lady!

  • aw,jennifer hudson,whitney,and ashanti! they have/had (rest in peace) such cute smiles.

  • jane

    I always thought Nicki Minaj was quite pretty, why she chose this drag queen from hell look she’s got goin on is beyond me.

    • TheMsmother

      That’s what I say!

  • Deal With It

    That is not Toni Braxton. That IS Trina Braxton. I have seen older pics of Toni. That’s not it.

  • Deal With It

    Rihanna looked even more beautiful in High school.

  • Just saying!!

    Awww they all look like regular girls lol. Good to know haha

  • universal

    where did they confiscate these pictures from……………this is incredible. too badd my girl keri hilson was kinda busted back in the day, but she sho nuff look good now……………………

  • canigetit200888

    Keri Hilson, ciara, and Rhianna are beautiful Black women. These pictures prove that they had beauty without the surgery! Beyonce is just a typical, overrated, full of cosmetic surgery, celebrity that drop out of highschool.

    • monitorette

      come on: you cannot deny that Beyonce is a beautiful lady with a beautiful smile, and it has served her throughout her life.

      • Just saying!!

        She is beautiful, but I don’t think she’s as big of a deal as people make her out to be. I always thought without the make up she just looked kind of regular but that people made a big deal out of her because she was “Beyonce”. The name certainly helps..

        • jane

          To be real that’s not just Beyonce most celebrites are overrated especially without make up and spanx. I mean have you ever seen a pic of Jlo, Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Aniston just to name a few before they were famous or without make up, they’re not earth shattering beauties.

        • monitorette

          i agree with you, without the make up (and most of all, without the weaves) she looks regular. Yes, they are people who are drop dead gorgeous without make up, but they do not owe it to their merit, they owe it to God / Nature. It could have been someone else

    • Dana

      The only surgury Beyonce ever had was a nose job like all the other ladies in these photos.

    • Telena

      Oh please. Beyonce is realer than any one of them.

  • I’m just sayin

    Keri Hilson looks like a computer generated age progression of a missing child…Whitney was gorgeous…and I think Ashanti’s middle name is pronounced sha-koy-yah…smh at Tina Douglas on that one lol

    • oh goddddd,
      you just slayed my entire life with this one!
      “Keri Hilson looks like a computer generated age progression of a missing child..”
      Never in my Life have i heard such a life cripplingly hilarious comment.

    • psylocke_2001

      #DEAD @ “computer generated age progression!!!!!!!!!”

    • great minds think alike, lol! i told my husband this two minutes ago! looks like a recreation of someone who has been missing for a while, lol!

    • randomtandem


  • cellyb2000

    You know a picture old when you see that damn wicker chair in background lol!

    • Native_Noir

      YES!!! All my Aunts have pictures in those chairs. Too effin funny.

  • JustSayin

    So if Beyonce’s picture was taken in high school and Destiny’s child started WHILE she was in high school what is with the “Supremes” wig? She look like she belong in Sparkle. Wait… heaven forbid that happens she may somehow end being called the main character like she was in Dream Girls.

  • Mrs. and Mrs. Sarcasm

    The shade in having Beyonce, Scary Hilson and Rihanna on the front…

    • Truth

      I thought the same damn thing. They are to shady for that one!!.. Long as they have Bey pic bigger lol

  • Numero Uno

    They all looked pretty.

  • Visions

    Ashanti’s mother needs to be slapped for that horrid, ghetto, ratchet name! Black people, please keep it simple. Ashley, Whitney, Kimberly, Jessica. These names are perfectly fine and perfectly normal ugh

    • Kay

      You mad? Ashanti is actually quite tame.. Hoes out here named shabrina Alize jones and you come for Ashanti? Next!!!

      • Visions

        Mad? No. I was referring to her middle name. Sheekerljejkarle or whatever it is. It’s absolutely horrible!

        • Native_Noir

          Ah-she-ka-shay??? o_O

      • LMAO!!

    • Kay

      Oop my bad I came at you before i saw the Middle name.. *bacls away slowly*

      • Resheart

        Ashanti is actually an indian name. ANd you go after Ashanti but think ‘Beyonce’ is perfecly acceptable? both names are in the same league. Both are on the border line of unique and ghetto…. it can go either way lol

        • Guest

          “Beyonce” is the phonetic spelling of her mother’s maiden name.

        • JT

          Beyonce is a French name and ashanti is Indian and African. Now her middle name.. I have no backing for that lol

          • carl

            Beyonce is not French. Ce n’est pas un nom francais! They just made it up.

            • randomtandem

              I dont think they made it up. It’s her mother’s maiden name. Beyince. She just changed the “I” to an “O” so people would pronounce it right. LOL

        • Miss D

          The Ashanti are tribe in Ghana, West Africa. Not ghetto in the least.

          • Andrani

            thank you. a very popular tribe at that. im shocked no one else pointed that out. smh ashanti is not an indian name. my name is.

        • Telena

          Ashanti is an AFRICAN name. A tribe in Ghana are called the Ashanti.

    • Native_Noir

      Right! I’m still trying to figure out how to pronounce that middle name. Smh

    • Guest

      The Ashanti are tribe in Ghana, West Africa. Not horrid, not ghetto, not ratchet. Learn some history and try again.

      • Just saying!!

        THANK YOU!

      • randomtandem

        i think they were referring to the “Shequoiya” in the middle lol

    • monitorette

      Such a white-washed mind…

    • Just saying!!

      I understand what you’re saying but don’t then say “use these white names instead”. I was with you up until that point…just makes you seem ignorant.

    • Angela

      European names are normal, but African ones are not. People are so brainwashed.

    • RU4real

      You do realize Ashanti is the name of an african people from Ghana. It’s ancient. Yes some names that we pick to be closer to our roots are actually african. You need to be slapped for insulting her mother giving homage to our heritage and for being so uneducated.

    • Keke Wood

      oh you mean keep it eurocentric and white? please shut the help up RIGHT NOW

    • Mona

      You sound just like a fool. What’s wrong with her name, besides the fact that you probably can’t say or spell it right!! If you can’t deal with it don’t say it!! Simple, just like you.

    • Craig D. Casimir

      what about “Beyonce”? wouldn’t that be considered “ghetto?”

    • Telena

      So White names? Ashanti is a tribe in Africa, boo. We don’t need to have European names.

  • lovely99

    Thats not a weave on Beyonce. I remember that hairstyle from the 90s, thank God I never rocked it#ijs

  • Macy Gray pics look like somebody’s Uncle Jarell

    • psylocke_2001

      LMAO!!!! I was thinking the same exact thing! She looks like my Uncle Robert in that picture!

    • randomtandem


  • Tagirl

    Toni’s picture is beautiful and Aretha was beautiful!

  • oh my J.Hud

    • Marier

      I am going to get lots of thumbs down but she looks like she was embalmed. Oh Jeez weight loss has done lots.

      • LoL, f*ckin “embalmed”!!!!
        you killed me with that one! LoL

    • Laila

      She looks just like her sister does now…

  • Leilani

    God damn…look at that Fubu…we have come a mighty long way…yes we have!

  • Just Sayin

    D@mn! I didn’t realize how much work Keri, Ciara, and Ashanti had. The differences are very obvious. Whoa! Bey and Alicia got nose jobs of course. Mya, no work.

    • Coily

      Beyonce’s nose looks the same and Alicia looks the same. There was nothing wrong with their noses. Black folks do not get as much surgery as other folks. People say Beyonce and Rihanna bleach their skin also, but they have both always been light skin. Just because many do it in Hollywood doesn’t automatically mean they have. Most stuff is just contouring with make up. Honestly none of these women look like they have had surgery, why would they need it. Most of their parents are good looking.

      • monitorette

        Beyonce had no job nose done, I see no differences throughout the years, this is indeed due make up alteration. But Alicia Keys definitely had a slight one.

      • Craig D. Casimir

        Alicia keys did get a nose job… check again

  • Jenn

    I love me some Whitney Houston … #RIP

  • gjones18

    That’s not a wig on Beyonce, but it is weave. Tina’s been hooking her up for a while now.

    • MLS2698

      Beyonce is the original ” Two Chains.”

    • Truth

      No wig. Don’t be a hater all your life. Lawd!!!

      • Zan

        Don’t be a fool all of yours. It does look like a wig. LOL.

        • whoever styled it, made it look like a wig. not saying it definitely is, but it looks “wiggy”.

  • eyeconic1

    Since there seems to be such an argument about Nicki’s hair in the other post and world news…you can see here she has long hair as she did in some of her underground footage as well. So unless she was wearing weave back then Nicki has long hair. We can all breathe again. LOL! SMH! Boy the things that are relevant. Why is it such a hard thing to grasp that black women, or ethnic women can too have long hair?

    • Agreed. haha I don’t care much for her music, but she does have beautiful hair.

    • L-Boogie


    • TRUTH IS

      A lot of things can happen ti ur hair between then and now… issue is why didn’t she show her face….if she puts glue in her hair it can damage it…..she is still and inflated doll…if she jump a bridge is is bound to float!

  • tt

    Didn’t know it was such a prerequisite to have a nose job….its apparent almost 90% of these ladies have had one (and other surgeries, I’m sure). ALL of them were perfectly pretty/beautiful/cute the way God had made them.

    • Angela

      Go to any celebrity year book photo collection, there’s almost always some slight work done.

  • Why does the picture of Beyonce look like it was taken in the 70s?

    • Shiron

      The way her hair is styled almost makes it look like she is wearing a wig–it does have 70’s vibe, Lol!

    • TRUTH IS

      because she was born in the 70s

      • lovely98

        She was born in the 80s. That was the style in the South at the time.

        • Adrina

          Yes it was bc I wore my hair like that lol

      • Whateva

        Umm, Beyonce was born in 1981.

        • TRUTH IS

          Thats not what the folks in TX is saying…..Ever heard of a celebrity lying about their real age…even Nas called Jayz out on that…..folks are so daft….Thot i heard Gabriel Union saying her and Beyonce are around the same age…

          • Guest

            Why don’t you just google Beyonce Star Search and watch a 12 year old Beyonce in 1993 instead of believing rumors/gossip. That will answer your doubts about her age.

          • Victoria

            Gabrielle never said she and Beyonce were the same age. What she said was that she knew Beyonce since Bey was a teenager. Some black blogs took that, spun it around to make it look like she said they knew eaxh other since they were teenagers.. Gabby said that when she was on Chelsea Lately show back in ’08 while promoting Cadillac Records.

          • Angela

            You do realize that if Beyonce were lying about her age, that would mean all of her peers (Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, etc) would also have to have been *really* born in the 70s (and of course, the rest of the original members of Destiny’s Child)?

            • Blayke_Love

              U are stupid…. rolls eyes

          • Blayke_Love

            You sound stupid in 1993 she was on STAR SEARCH and was a little 9 year old kid…. I am from Texas and that was the style. You have doubts? Bey attended Houston School for the Performing Arts. She is only 31. Gabrielle Union said that they went to the same hair dresser,,,, How is that aging Bey 9 years? So you are saying in Destinys Child when they were 12 she was 21… SIT DOWN!!!!

      • Native_Noir

        LMAO! Comedy.

      • Guest

        Beyonce was not born in the 70’s. She was born in 1981 and appeared on Star Search in 1993 when she was 12. You can see a video of that on Youtube. That doesn’t look like a 70’s hairdo. It looks like “The Rachel”.hairstyle.

        • TanTan78

          You are right. I saw that, and I thought 1995-1996. So dated. The barrettes gave it away. That’s the way I wore my hair when I went to see “Waiting to Exhale”

      • randomtandem


    • Mallory

      You know how people in the south do…their fashion choices are ALWAYS backwards #bammasforlife

  • bookie

    The pix of toni looks more like her sister Trina

    • TRUTH IS

      Gorgeous tho, I must say

      • monitorette

        yes, she is beautiful on this pix, and the direct gaze to the photographer when everyone is looking away, that always works wonders.

    • MandyDoll

      I thought so too!