I came across an article on Madame Noire featuring songs that empower women in honor of March being Women’s History Month, as well as another list that they have of songs that specifically uplift black women. I cosign to many of the songs they included and even found a couple that I hadn’t heard before or at least not the original versions. For instance, I think every black elementary school sang “Young, Gifted, and Black” at one assembly or another back in the day. However, reading Madame Noire’s article was my first time encountering Nina Simone’s version of the song.
Since I not only love many kinds of music–spanning many genres and decades, but I believe it has the power to encourage and heal better than any other art form, I figured I’d compose my own women’s empowerment playlist featuring 5 songs that were not mentioned on the Madame Noire playlists.
1. Mary J. Blige, “In the Meantime”
So I am a huge Mary J. Blige fan. Therefore, it was hard to pick just one of her songs for this list, but I forced myself to pick my absolute favorite one when I need a little pick-me-up. I’ve always loved her because she just comes across as so real and genuine. She has overcome so much and is the epitome of positively optimistic and powerful in my opinion. “In the Meantime” was my go-to song in college. In fact, it was on my iPhone playlist which was called “Shower Party” because I used to bring my mini speakers in the dorm shower room and play my tunes while I washed all the nooks and cranies. Check it out if you’ve never heard this song. It was on the 2001 “No More Drama” album.
2. Mariah Carey, “Make It Happen”
Now this was another artist that really made it hard for me to just pick one empowerment song! Lord knows Mariah got me through many o’ dark days in my teenage years and early twenties! Not to mention she improved my vocabulary by throwing in smart words, like “dissipate” and “ambiguous,” in her songs every now and then. I’m not as much of a fan of the new Mariah, but she will always have a special place in my musical heart. “Make it Happen” has always been encouraging to me because it’s about her start from the bottom to the top and how she made it by faith and perseverance.
3. No Doubt, “Just a Girl”
As I said before, I’ve always loved many kinds of music. I remember a time when I was ashamed of my appreciation for pop and rock (I had a huge punk rock phase in high school. Can someone say Blink-182?!) because it wasn’t cool for a black girl to listen to anything other than rap or R&B. But as an adult, I embrace my specialness and I attribute it to my father because he played Foreigner, Pink Floyd, and other not typical Black people music as well as the Isley Brothers and Rick James in the house when I was growing up. All that to say that I thought Gwen Stefani was the ish way before she started collaborating with Eve and dabbling into “urban music.” This song is the anthem for all girls that are tired of people telling them what they can’t do and trying to keep them in a box.
4. Jill Scott, “When I Wake Up”
What R&B/Neosoul fan doesn’t love Jilly from Philly? She’s the truth. Enough said. This song is from her 2011’s “Light of the Sun”, which was a great album. It’s one you can play all the way through which is hard to find these days. Play this when you’re in your feelings and know that when you wake up everything you went through will be beautiful.
5. Shawn Colvin, “Sunny Came Home”
This is another throwback to a time long past. I love 90s music with a passion. I really like songs that tell a story and this one seems to be about a woman who decides to get out of a bad relationship by burning her house down–in reality or metaphorically I don’t know, but either way it’s bada$$. My favorite lyric is “She’s out there on her own and she’s alright. Sunny came home.”
What songs would be on your empowering playlist in honor of Women’s History Month? Let me know in the comments or on Facebook. Until next time, stay down with the P.O.P. 😉