Music that Puts Black Women on a Pedestal
Music, an ever-present and important part of our lives as human beings — with all sorts of musical genres around the world playing in the background of our life experiences.
Music, song and dance have existed in Africa - the cradle of humankind as we know it today, since the beginning of time. The multiple Grammy award-winning and internationally-celebrated Beninese singer-songwriter Angélique Kidjo once said that “Africa is the bedrock of all music.”
The dance movements of African and Afro-descendants have marked and continue to influence the entire world. Although unfortunately, the image of the Afro woman is not always visible on international mainstream music platforms and there is also a certain expression of misogynoir that some artists within select music genres can exhibit.
So to balance out the aforementioned problematic tendencies of misogynoir and black-fishing in the music industry that do exist, here is a list of twenty-two songs that recognise and edify African, black and Afro women to brighten your playlist and give you an extra pep in your step.
1. Blk Girl Soldier - Jamila Woods
African-American Chicago-based singer has several anthems that speak to her heritage and essence as a black woman thriving in a neocolonial world.
Lyrics go, "She, she, she, she, she don't give up! Oh no, no, no, no, she don't give up!"
2. Me gritaron "¡negra!" - Victoria Santa Cruz
An Afro-Peruvian legend of many talents — choreographer, poet, composer, writer and activist. The diverse plethora of work of Madam Cruz resounds her pride of being of African descent in Latin-America.
Lyrics so, "Yes! Black! I'm black! How beautiful that sounds! Black! I'm black!"
3. Black Girl Magic - Che Lingo
This black British hip hop artist did not hesitate to make his admiration for black women publicly known on this track.
Lyrics go, "Look at that black girl! Melanin! Queen!"
4. Black Woman - Rob Kazi
The African-American entertainer showcased his talent on this song that lists off the positive qualities of the average every-day Afro woman.
Lyrics go, "Black girls are queens. Black girls are awesome. Black girls slay. Black girls the truth."
5. A Coisa Tá Preta - Mc Rebecca, Elza Soares.
This Afro-Brazilian funk artist had the honour of collaborating with an Afro-Brazilian legend to pay tribute to their African ancestry
Lyrics translate to, "Black men, black women, kings, queens, powerful, Wakanda!"
6. African Queen - 2Face Idibia
The Nigerian singer released an ode to African women in this song that was very popular in its day.
Lyrics go, "You are my African queen. The girl of my dreams and that is the African beauty."
7. Chocolat feat. Awa Imani - Lartiste
The France-based Moroccan artist took it upon himself to show love for black women in light of a display of self-hatred projected onto their female counterparts by certain black men in France.
Lyrics go, "She is sexy, refined and chocolate."
8. Black Woman - Danielle Brooks
Black-American actress and singer-songwriter most well-known for her role in the Netflix original series, 'Orange is the New Black' is candid with the truth of her experience in this tune.
Lyrics go, "Cornbread fed, sweet tea sippin'. Nubian queen with the skin that glistens. I'm a black woman"
9. Bixa Preta - Linn da Quebrada
The Afro-Brazilian genderqueer artist has been all over the world showcasing her pride of being a part of both the queer and Afro community in spite of transphobia and racism that she has often had to step over across Latin America.
Lyrics, "My black skin. It's my mantle of courage."
10. DarkSkin - Jayd Ink
In moments of frustration over misplaced prejudices, this coily-haired beauty croons her woes in this melodic tune.
Lyrics go, "Darkskin girl they always say that you're pretty for a dark skin girl. But what does that mean?"
11. Kemekem (I Like Your Afro) - Meklit feat. Samuel Yirga
This Ethiopian beauty remade a traditional song that professes the love for coily-textured hair that has often been judged and negatively categorised by non-Afro and non-Afro having people.
Lyrics go, "You with the beautiful afro. You're delicious like injera and sweet like tej."
12. Black Woman & Child - Sizzla
A renowned Jamaican reggae artist who has always held strong to his African roots professes his love for the black woman in this song.
Lyrics go, "Black woman and child. For you I really have so much love. Dollar bills and coins will fade away. They could never make I so proud."
13. Brown Skin Girl - Beyoncé, Blue Ivy, SAINt JHN, WizKid.
The song speaks to all brown-skinned little girls out there as black-American R&B artist Beyoncé Knowles sings to her daughter.
Lyrics go, "Brown skin girl. Your skin just like pearls. The best thing in the world. Never trade you for anybody else."
14. Menina Pretinha - Mc Soffia
An impassioned and impressive Afro-Brazilian teen who uses her art in her activism against racism in Brazil.
Lyrics go, "Little black girl, you are not 'exotic,' you are not 'cute.' You are a queen!"
15. Four Women - Nina Simone
A true legendary classic that has been reprised by many a singer, choreographer and poet over the years to uphold the legacy of the classical pianist and jazz singer-songwriter icon Nina Simone. This version is by Javaria Porter, Endeya Penix, Aija Penix and Kyla Jade.
The song speaks to the evolution of the black-American female experience throughout the history of the United States and can be applied to many Afro women both in the Motherland and Diaspora.
Lyrics, "My skin is tan, my hair is fine, my hips invite you, my mouth like wine."
16. Black Woman - Richie Spice
The Jamaican reggae artist of the Rastafari faith has several songs that show love to black women and his African heritage. This one shows love to black women's natural features.
Lyrics go, "She don't want to cream her hair, she wants it wrapped up in a turban."
17. La Diaspora - Nitty Scott feat. Zap Mama
Proudly-identified as black i.e. Afro Latina, the New York, US-based artist pays homage to her African roots in the song.
Lyrics go, "Whine to remind and she twerk to resist. Working it and worship the earth in her dip. Stolen from Africa seeking a gift."
18. Black Girl Magik - Sampa The Great feat. Nicole Gumbe
A Zambian multi-faceted artist based in Australia who does not ever shy away from lifting her voice for the advancement of Afro people down under.
Lyrics go, "Then let's take it back again. Back back to Africa. Matriarchy is a fact. Black women per capita."
19. African Woman - Roberto feat. General Ozzy
Another artist hailing from Zambia who showers African women with adoration in this extremely catchy bop.
Lyrics go, "African woman rocks. These women are so fine. A beauty like Kilimanjaro."
20. I Am NOT My Hair - India Arie feat. Akon
This underrated Soul and R&B African-American singer-songwriter created an anthem for black women and all the many diverse expressions of the community's versatile hair textures around the world.
Lyrics go, "I am not my hair. I am not this skin. I am not your expectations, no. I am the soul that lives within."
21. Black Woman - Judy Mowatt
A legend in her own right, the Jamaican reggae artist also once sang back vocal for Icon Bon Marley. The song vibrates with encouragement for all Afro women when times can get hard as it reminds them that they always overcome.
Lyrics go, "Don't give up now. Just pray for strength now. For you I dedicate my song."
22. La Negra Tiene Tumbao - Celia Cruz
The one and only Cuban Queen of Salsa and Rumba. An Afro-Latina icon who never shied away from her African heritage sang about the internal power and essence of black girl magic before it even became a trend in today's world.
Lyrics go, "This black girl strutting, she has so much swagger. And when people look at her she begins to dance. Black women have swag!"
There are so many more songs out there that appreciate and show love to Afro women to keep your coils and curls bouncing and your hips swaying in self-love as you dance to the beat of your own Afro drum in life.