In the late 1950s and early ’60s, soul—black music with elements of R&B, gospel, and blues—emerged in the American South and later burgeoned in Detroit, where pop-infused Motown hits took hold, as well as Chicago. Although male artists like James Brown first championed soul, women became a driving force of the genre, as legends like Etta James and Aretha Franklin rose to center stage. Soul music became a powerful vehicle to address social and political issues like civil rights and the Vietnam War, with which white soul singers like Dusty Springfield and Janis Joplin also engaged. Subsequent genres like disco and funk are indebted to soul, while artists such as Amy Winehouse, Erykah Badu, Adele, and Lauryn Hill represent the genre’s contemporary influence and endurance. Below are six photographers who immortalized the performances and personas of soul’s leading ladies.