Happy Saturday! I got another playlist for you, and it’s a really fun one. In honor of Black Girls Rock premiering Tuesday, August 22nd on BET, I’ve been listening to Black female artists all week who completely lift up my spirits with their songs. Representation means so much to me when it comes to music, and all of these Black women carry a level of inspiration, empowerment, freedom, and most of all; pure fun. Hopefully with all that is going on this week, you’ll get the chance to sit back and groove to a few of these songs. Self-care.
So, let’s dive right in starting with the legendary Diana Ross:
1. Diana Ross – Upside Down
I call her a national treasure because she just is, no question about that. Plus, it’s a fact since she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom last year, so salute to the Queen. For six decades and counting, she embodied black girl joy, class, elegance, and positive energy. I never seen her perform live, but I know it’s an experience that no one can describe unless you’ve been to one of her shows. Plus, I will forever love Ms. Ross for introducing the world to my favorite artist of all time, Michael Jackson, who is also in this video.
2. MC Lyte, Missy Elliott – Cold Rock A Party (Bad Boy Remix)
Speaking of Diana Ross’ classic for #1, the song was sampled into the remix for this record with these two Hip-Hop icons. I thought I heard every 90s’ record until this randomly played on the radio one Friday evening after work. Since then, this has been my anthem to start my weekends. MC Lyte is a Hip-Hop pioneer and will always be respected, always. Of course, Missy makes every song she’s featured in even hotter, you just can’t go wrong with her. MC Lyte also got married to her King this past weekend, and the wedding photos are beautiful.
3. Toni Braxton – He Wasn’t Man Enough
I love how much fun Ms. Braxton was having in this video from the wardrobes to the dance number with the silver sequin dress.This is definitely an anthem every woman needs when they moved on and the next girl thinks she won the winning ticket…nah sis, “I ain’t thinking about him.” The funny thing is the guy in the video is Keri Lewis, Toni Braxton’s husband at the time. I swear he’s DJ Envy’s twin, they resemble each other so much. Plus, can we talk about Tamar Braxton and how her facial expressions were giving me complete life? Robin Givens is beautiful here as well. Such a fun record.
4. Xscape – Tonight
The day when I heard Xscape was reuniting, I nearly fell out of consciousness. I’m an avid watcher of TVOne’s Unsung, and after seeing their episode in 2014, I lost so much hope. I was 5 years old when they split up 18 years ago, so I never got the chance to admire this group except getting to know 3 of them individually on reality shows. Well, look at God; these ladies proved themselves at the Essence Festival this July and we can finally get the chance to hear Tiny hit those soprano notes live when they finally start their anticipated reunion tour. I love this song so much, it definitely captures their sisterhood and wide vocal ranges as singers.
5. Janet Jackson – The Pleasure Principle
This was the first song I ever heard from Ms. Jackson, I was about 9 years old. I remember so fondly because this video came on BET one Saturday when they were just playing music videos all day (the good ole’ days), and I was just mesmerized at this young Black girl dancing all through this loft without a care in the world. I don’t even think I connected the dots between her and Michael at the time. Janet is considered the Queen of Pop for me, and I hope I get to see her on tour in a few months.
6. Solange – Cranes In The Sky
No doubt about it that Solange made a name for herself and her music echoes serene, warm, and carefree vibes that is needed, especially at this time. I watched this video about 100 times already, and I love the imagery Solange and her husband, Alan Ferguson, brought to life for the video. The color pink looks so grand on her, and do you see that gold just glistening on her skin? Love.
7. Aaliyah – Hot Like Fire (Feels My Horns Mix)
This is my favorite Aaliyah video next to “Rock The Boat”, and this version of “Hot Like Fire” has me dancing instantly. We lost Baby Girl way too soon, but she left us with music that we can still to this day bump to and have fun with. I salute Timbaland and Missy for blessing us with their amazing production. I wish I could go to a block party like this.
8. Brownstone – 5 Miles To Empty
I remember hearing this for the first time without ever seeing their faces, and thinking how beautiful this choir sound. Tell me why the voices are only from three people, powerful voices right? Brownstone was one of the groups I hoped to someday see in concert, and unfortunately it may not happen since Maxena “Maxee” Maxwell (the Queen with the curly hair) passed away two years ago. I do remember them reuniting on TVOne’s R&B Divas a few years back, and talking about plans to sing together again. Please give these ladies some praise.
9. SZA – Broken Clocks
I could talk about SZA and her amazing album Ctrl all day, but I’ll save it for another time. When the album first came out, “Love Galore” and “The Weekend” were on replay, but when I saw an instagram video of Keke Palmer dancing to this song, I got so hooked on it. I hope she makes a video for this, and when she does I’ll update this. I just love seeing dark-skinned women in the music industry succeeding, and again; representation matters so much.
10. Ameriie – Talkin’ To Me
First off, just know that the two i’s in her name is not a typo, that is her name in real life, and is now her stage name. I worn out her album All I Have when I younger, and memorized every song. Ameriie’s music is so pure and fresh to me and I miss her music playing on the radio. However, you can catch her on her YouTube channel, Books Beauty Ameriie. Not only is she one of my favorite R&B artists, but I can go to her for book reviews and beauty tips.
11. Beyoncé – Grown Woman
This was a hard decision because at least four other songs of Mrs. Knowles-Carter are currently on rotation. Because this video is so cute and fun, it had to make its way on my list. She’s royalty; she just had twins, launched an initiative to provide clean water in Burundi through her BeyGOOD foundation, and is enjoying her life the way she wants. Her music never disappoints.
12. Total, Foxy Brown, Lil Kim, Da Brat – No One Else (Bad Boy Remix)
*Warning: Explicit Language*
I miss those times when 10+ female MCs were all on one track, and each of their rhymes were hot. The beat, Notorious B.I.G. appearing in the video, the black and white image, and the Set It Off-ish story-line captures everything I love about the Bad Boy style of music videos.
13. Ledisi – Pieces of Me
Her voice is so beautiful, definitely one of my favorite soul singers. This song literally describes my life, so much that I could cry. Her melanin is glowing, radiant…more people needs to listen to her, I can’t stress that enough.
14. Mary J. Blige – Thick Of It
Love Her. The definition of strength and independence. I do hope she is blessed with someone who will love her unconditionally and treat her like the Queen she is. I could listen to this all day long.
15. Whitney Houston – I Wanna Dance With Somebody
EVERYTHING BLACK GIRL MAGIC. I still can’t believe she’s gone. She is the first time I saw myself, and who I wanted to be; just happy and fun. There will never be another Ms. Houston.
Well, there you have it. Those are all the songs I listened to this week, and I hope you enjoy them. See you back next Friday for another one.