World-renowned African-American recording artist Dionne Warwick (b. 1940) of East Orange began her singing career as a soloist for the famous Drinkard Singers, a group to which her mother belonged. As young girls, Warwick and her sister Dee Dee starred in their own gospel group called The Gospelaires. Her performance at the Olympia Theater in Paris in 1963 helped launch Warwick to international fame.
Warwick was the first African-American female recording artist to accumulate a dozen consecutive Top 100 hit singles between the years of 1963 and 1966. She received her first Grammy Award in 1968 and second in 1970. In addition, Warwick became the first African-American solo female artist of her generation to win the prestigious award for Best Contemporary Female Vocalist Performance. In 1968 she appeared before the Queen of England at a Royal Command Performance, making Warwick the first female African-American artist to do so.
Throughout her 50 year long career, Warwick has used her celebrity status to campaign on behalf of a number of social causes. For instance, she has supported the Starlight Foundation, children’s hospitals and various organizations tackling issues like world hunger, AIDS, disaster relief and music education. Most recently, Warwick served as Global Ambassador for Health and the Ambassador for the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization.