In 2016, President Barack Obama said in a presidential proclamation that black music and musicians help the United States “to dance, to express our faith through song, to march against injustice and to defend our country’s enduring promise of freedom and opportunity to all.”
As June is African American Music Appreciation Month, it’s the perfect time to recognize and educate yourself on not only the incredible black artists rocking the music industry, but also to acknowledge those that are raising the bar higher than it’s ever been.
Here are seven songs by black female artists to enjoy during African-American Music Appreciation Month.
1. “Soulmate” — Lizzo
Lizzo — an American R&B pop artist known for her hip-hop beats and smooth vocals — established herself as a staple this summer with the release of her third studio album, “Cuz I Love You.”
“Cuz I Love You” is teeming with themes of self-love and mental confidence, and her song “Soulmate” is no different.
Lizzo recently performed at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and will head to Atlanta to perform at Music Midtown this September.
2. “Facts” — H.E.R.
Gabi Wilson, known professionally as H.E.R., is a 21-year-old singer-songwriter who’s recently dominated the R&B scene. She was recently nominated for five Grammy Awards in 2019 and won for Best R&B Performance and Best R&B Album.
The dreamy vocals of H.E.R. are ever-powering in “Facts,” but they don’t distract from wordplay often present in her music. “I don’t care ‘bout opinions, and that’s facts,” she sings.
3. “LEAVE ME ALONE” — Kari Faux
This R&B and hip-hop artist has released several EPs since her debut mixtape and is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.
“LEAVE ME ALONE” is a rhythmic plea for peace and quiet, and a desperate desire for a space outside the spotlight.
4. “Don’t Touch My Hair” — Solange
Solange showcased her smooth funk-soul perfection with her 2019 album, “When I Get Home,” although she’s been a notable player in the world of female R&B and pop since her early 2000s career.
“Don’t Touch My Hair” — the ninth track off her 2016 “A Seat at the Table — explores identity and microaggressions through beautiful harmonies and lyrics with depth. Solange posted a personal essay near the time of the album’s release and further analyzed her identity through the second person.
“You and your friends have been called the N word, been approached as prostitutes, and have had your hair touched in a predominately white bar just around the corner,” Solange writes. “We belong. We belong. We belong. We built this.”
5. “Good Girl” — Tiffany Gouché
Tiffany Gouché is a queer singer-songwriter from Inglewood, California, and has collaborated with artists like Solange, Lauryn Hill and Missy Elliot since the popularity stemming from her EP “Pillow Talk.”
“Good Girl,” released in December 2018, prides itself with a syncopated rhythm and strong, expressive vocals. With a sultry voice as smooth as Gouché’s is, it’s hard not to appreciate “Good Girl.”
6. “Crazy, Classic, Life” — Janelle Monáe
Janelle Monáe is in part known for her music — notably her released conceptual albums —and for her roles in the films “Hidden Figures” and “Moonlight.”
“Crazy, Classic, Life” comes off Monáe’s third album “Dirty Computer,” and opens with an excerpt of the United States Declaration of Independence. “Remember when they told you I was too black for ya? Now my black poppin’ like a bra strap on ya,” Monáe sings.
7. “Up Late” — Ari Lennox
Neo soul singer-songwriter Ari Lennox released her “Shea Butter Baby” in May 2019. Lennox stated in interviews that her biggest influences include Ella Fitzgerald, Whitney Houston and Lauryn Hill.
“Up Late” is the third single from her debut studio album. Filled with sensual, often intimate themes, the song follows the protagonist on another late night.