LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 12: Singer Beyonce during The 59th GRAMMY Awards at STAPLES Center on February 12, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for NARAS)

Beyoncé in Vogue: These 'Brilliant Women' Came Before Me

The singer pays tribute to seven black female artists.

Beyoncé was given unprecedented control over Vogue's September issue. She selected photographer Tyler Mitchell to shoot her spread, and with that pictorial, he became the first black photographer to shoot a Vogue cover. About that choice, Beyoncé said: "It’s important to me that I help open doors for younger artists. There are so many cultural and societal barriers to entry that I like to do what I can to level the playing field, to present a different point of view for people who may feel like their voices don’t matter. "Imagine if someone hadn’t given a chance to the brilliant women who came before me: Josephine Baker, Nina Simone, Eartha Kitt, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Diana Ross, Whitney Houston, and the list goes on. They opened the doors for me, and I pray that I’m doing all I can to open doors for the next generation of talents."

Learn more about the careers of these "brilliant women" who came before Beyoncé.

Josephine Baker In Her Show 'Josephine Baker Story' In Monte Carlo. Monte-Carlo - août 1974 - Lors de sa revue 'Joséphine BAKER Story', la chanteuse et danseuse Joséphine BAKER en costume de scène, chantant un micro à la main. (Photo by Jack Garofalo/Paris Match via Getty Images) GAROFALO Jack/Paris Match via Getty Images JOSEPHINE BAKER Baker came to fame in 1920s Paris with her "danse sauvage" performance, becoming the most recognizable black female star in the world. She wore a banana skirt and hopped down from a palm tree on stage, taking the racist fascination with black people's "primitiveness" and turning it on its head — in addition to reclaiming minstrelsy from a black artist's perspective. In 2006, Beyoncé paid tribute to Baker by wearing a banana skirt during a performance. UNITED STATES - JULY 04: NEWPORT JAZZ FESTIVAL Photo of Nina SIMONE, . (Photo by David Redfern/Redferns) David Redfern/Redferns NINA SIMONE Nina Simone's music transcended genre — she studied classical piano at the Juilliard School, but eventually became known for her jazz, blues, and folk music. In the 1960s, she became involved with the civil rights movement, while remaining an international musical sensation. During Beyoncé's Coachella performance, she sampled Simone's 1954 version of "Lilac Wine." UNSPECIFIED - JANUARY 01: (AUSTRALIA OUT) Photo of Eartha KITT (Photo by GAB Archive/Redferns) GAB Archive/Redferns EARTHA KITT Eartha Kitt performed on Broadway, in movies, and on television, beginning in the 1940s. She gave the world the gift of "Santa Baby," which became an instant hit and a timeless classic. During Beyoncé's 2015 Made in America concert, she included audio of Kitt responding to an interviewer who asked if she would compromise for a man. American musician Aretha Franklin performs on stage at the Park West Auditorium, Chicago, Illinois, March 23, 1992. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images) Paul Natkin/Getty Images ARETHA FRANKLIN Known as "The Queen of Soul," Aretha Franklin was named the Greatest Singer of All Time by Rolling Stone in 2010. "Chain of Fools," "Respect," and "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," still influence musicians today. Tina Turner, vocal, performs at the Feijenoord Stadium in Rotterdam, the Netherlands on 23th June 1990. (Photo by Frans Schellekens/Redferns) Frans Schellekens/Redferns TINA TURNER The "What's Love Got to Do With It" singer rose to fame in the 1960s and experienced a career resurgence with her 1984 album, "Private Dancer." Beyoncé and Tina Turner joined together onstage at the 2008 Grammys for a performance of "Proud Mary." Though Beyoncé paid tribute to Turner at the performance, she and Jay Z have recevied flack for their reference to Ike Turner's domestic violence in their song "Drunk in Love." DUBLIN, IRELAND - MARCH 10: Singer Diana Ross performs at The Point Theatre March 10 2004 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by ShowBizIreland/Getty Images) ShowBizIreland/Getty Images DIANA ROSS Ross began her career with The Supremes in the late 1950s and went off to start an incredibly successful solo career in 1970. With several No. 1 hits, Diana Ross was, and still is, a talent like no other. In 2006, Beyoncé played a character based on Diana Ross in the film version of "Dreamgirls." FRANCE - MAY 18: Whitney Houston Performs In Paris Bercy On May 18th, 1988 In Paris,France (Photo by Frederic REGLAIN/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images) Frederic REGLAIN/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images WHITNEY HOUSTON Whitney Houston was Aretha Franklin's goddaughter and a superstar in her own right. Her vocal range spanned three octaves, which is apparent with her iconic ballad performances, like "I Will Always Love You." Houston tragically died at the age of 48 in 2012. When she died, Beyoncé posted a tribute on her website: "So many of my life’s memories are attached to a Whitney Houston song. She is our queen and she opened doors and provided a blueprint for all of us."