Let’s just go ahead and say Black women artists gave us the soundtrack to 2021. Megan. Chloé. H.E.R. Jazmine. Normani. And Go Off, Sis, the podcast from Refinery29’s Unbothered is passing out giant bouquets of peach and yellow chrysanthemums to these melody-makers. We’re celebrating them for giving us energy, rage, comfort, and encouragement when we needed it most. Oh, and they get a girl-you-doing-a-good-job dance for parlaying their music into even larger duffle bags. Saweetie and that McDonald’s meal? Brilliant. Megan and Popeyes’ Hottie Sauce? Genius.
Unbothered’s creative lead producer and DJ extraordinaire Crystal DeVone slips into the co-host seat on this episode to share a few gems about Black women in music. “Before, it was one person at a time. You could only listen to Nicki Minaj. Then we wait. Next year, listen to Cardi B. At one point, women weren’t even out,” DeVone shares. “Now you have a song [by a Black woman] to listen to when it’s a heartbreak, or when you want to feel your wokeness, or you just want to feel good.”
Not only is there a musical buffet, but these baddies aren’t trying to be a cheap imitation of someone else. Remember when the powers that be handed Rihanna a bottle of peroxide so she could be a blonde baby Beyoncé? Remember what happened when Ursula Stephen gave Rihanna that career-altering bob in 2007? They didn’t know Rih was a savage. Send an email to the folks in charge: When you free the girls, you will get thee work.
“One of the reasons [artists] don’t have to care as much about what A&R rep is checking for them is because they’ve been able to use the platforms available to them in 2021 that weren’t available 20 years ago,” says co-host Chelsea Sanders about an artist’s ability to be authentic and unapologetic. “They can hop on Twitter and release a song. They can hop on TikTok like Doja Cat does and go wild.”
To hear more about how Black women artists are using social media to elevate their brand and if a Whitney Houston hologram tour is good for the culture, listen to the full episode, below.