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Thursday, October 5, 2023

Ladies First: Empowerment Anthems


Let’s be honest; the 90’s girl was a revolutionary act. She was strong, self-confident and sassy.  As we kick off Women’s History Month, we celebrate the female voices that moved the nation with their message of empowerment.

Kelis – Caught Out There
Nothing was more liberating than a top-of-the-lungs exclamation, ‘I HATE YOU SO MUCH RIGH NOW!” Kelis granted women the permission to be fed up–ALL THE WAY UP. Told through a Neptunes-powered tale of how a Valentine turns into vitriol, our heroine takes action after one-too-many lies.


Whitney Houston – It’s Not Right But It’s Okay
Earning her position as one of the nation’s most treasured mathematicians, no Fields Medalist could ever compete with a woman who knows that if 6 of ya’ll went out, then 4 of you are really cheap. Only two of you had dinner and Whitney Houston has the receipts. The Darkchild-produced entry on 1998’s “My Love Is Your Love” album was a shift in Nippy’s sound and a rallying call for women to elevate their self-worth as the ultimate survival when the math just isn’t mathing.


TLC – Unpretty
In the age of BBLS and Tummy Teas, the strength of a woman’s self-image needs more TLC than ever. Alexa, play “Unpretty”. What started as a therapeutic poem by Tionne ‘T-Boz” Watkins became a national anthem of assurance that true beauty lies within your unique size, shape and spirit. Landing their fourth #1 single, the ladies of TLC used powerful visuals to combat rejection and insecurity, encouraging the embrace of our one-ness, a mission that is carried throughout their entire catalog.


Aretha Franklin – A Rose Is Still A Rose
A woman is like a rare flower, she blooms with the right amount of love and care. For her 34th album, the Queen of Soul ministers from her throne as a matriarch with lessons of love to share. She narrates a cautionary tale of a young girl who explores her growing femininity, watered by false promises and nearly withered by life’s concrete reality. Our crown jewel reminds our protagonist of their power and the inextinguishable light they continue to carry. Words of wisdom are best served by our elders. “Baby girl, you’re still a flower.”


Mary J. Blige – My Life
Experience is the best teacher and there is no greater educator for our generation of women than Mary J. Blige. There are countless songs in her catalog that resonate with the female experience but when she states “If you looked in my life and see what I’ve seen..” she reminds listeners that she has been in those dark corners and continues to navigate through the journey to find light. Searching for belonging and love can tear your spirit, yet through Mary’s candid reflection you are reminded, regardless of gender, that you are worthy of restoration and repair.


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