Black Music Month 2019

I love the month of June. It’s not only the start of summer, but it’s a celebration of Blackness. This tends to be mostly due to the honoring of Juneteenth. There are so many events now hosted in cities across the nation, for Juneteenth. A holiday that was mostly ignored up until 10 years ago.  There are parades, festivals, BBQs…and a Becky better not call 911 on not a one 😉 June is also a fun month because it’s a time to pay homage to the musical contributions Black folks have made in this country.

I think this year, Black Music Month, is even more exciting with the recent success of Lil Nas X. A rapper who throwed everyone off with his country hit, Old Town Road.  When Billboard and people tried to dismiss the song as not country enough, and that Lil Nas X had no place in country music, folks started dropping facts left and right about the fact that country music was created by Black folks. Lil Nas X has a right to be in the space more than any white country singer living or dead (yeah, I said it!)

Besides the triumph of Lil Nas X, June highlights the return of three OG r&b goddesses in the game: Ciara, Kelly Rowland, and Mary J Blige. The singers combined total over 60 years in the music industry(!) All three ladies have dropped new songs within the last month or so. And they show, they still got it going on.

Ciara: At 33, CiCi, is the youngest of the trio. CiCi is also my girl crush. She exudes a natural sexiness. It must be that Scorpio vibe. I’ve liked Ciara since Goodies. She picked up where sadly, Aaliyah, was not able to complete. Ciara brought the eclectic dance movies, fun uptempo songs, and sleek style. Since then, Ciara’s albums have been hit or miss to me, mostly miss. I did think her album Ciara was pretty good. It had the cut “Body Party,” once again showing the sensual side of Ciara. But the album got bogged down in the Future nonsense. Y’all already know that gossip 🙂 Ciara didn’t really promote the album and it was quickly forgotten.

I think CiCi has bounced back with another solid album. Beauty Marks marks Ciara’s point in her career of transitioning into adulthood (married w/two children), self- reflection, and taking it to the next level.  Although, ironically, her song “Level Up” is the song I liked least on the album. It worked my nerves, but I got the gist of what she was going for. My favorite tune (and the best on the whole album imo) is “Greatest Love.” I think because, yet again, CiCi knows how to do sexy. That is her strength.

I definitely recommend Beauty Marks to bump in your ride this sizzling summer.

Kelly Rowland: The underrated star of Destiny’s Child (yeah, I said it!), released an EP of three songs. Yep, three songs. But they all jam. The Kelly Rowland Edition features “Don’t You Worry,” “Diamonds, and “See Me.” “Don’t You Worry” is the highlight of the EP. If Rowland doesn’t come out with a video for this song. I don’t know what to say.  It’s a perfect summer tune. These songs are just a teaser for a full album that will be released later this year. I can’t wait to see what Rowland brings this time around. If these songs are any indication, it’s going to be a hot album!

Mary J Blige:  And last, but never least, the Queen of all things…Mary Jane Blige. Yes, I am a MJB groupie (that’s why she has the biggest picture 😉 Mary has had it on lock for over THIRTY YEARS. I’ll never forget Mary’s debut on Video Soul (Gen-Xers know what I’m talking about), with “You Remind Me.” I liked her right away.  No, Mary isn’t the greatest technical singer, but she has that thang that makes you want to hear more.  She connects to her music and knows her audience. She takes neither for granted, for the most part. Now Mary is back with her umpteenth hit with a little help from Nas (I can take him or leave him).  She’s gearing up for her 16th studio album. I know she is going to bring the heat. She’s Mary J Blige. Duh!

“All those sad songs don’t break me/just gave me a record year/Ooh, ooh. Ooh, ooh”

 

 

 

Chasing Destiny

One of my favorite girl groups is En Vogue. They were the quintessential 90’s girl group with their beautiful harmonies, sleek fashions, and attractive but attainable looks.

I was pleased to see Kelly Rowland give homage to the group in her new show “Chasing Destiny.”

Rowland, one of the key members of Destiny’s Child, hopes to find the next generation’s “it” girl group.

The first episode was interesting, if not tedious. You know the cliche tryouts, backstories, and repeat singers from other reality shows who are still trying to catch a break.

However, Rowland brings charm and cuteness to the show, so it’s worth tuning in. She also has a vision for the group which is appealing. I had to smile when she said “give me my chocolate” when looking over photos for potential group members. Rowland recently talked about the importance of “chocolate” black women in the music industry.

One of my pet peeves with shows like this, is that so much effort is put into finding people, but often the groups go nowhere.

Sometimes it’s because they really aren’t all that great to begin with, but a lot of the times folks are extremely talented but not properly promoted.

I hope Kelly’s group actually make it. Especially since she does seem to want to expand the images of black women in music. This is needed as black women singers have become pigeonholed if they aren’t dipped in the Rihanna or Beyonce prototype. It’s why phenomenal singers like Jazmine Sullivan, Fantasia,  and others have struggled so.

Black Girls Rock 2013 Recap

I always feel empowered after watching “Black Girls Rock.” Hell, the rest of the time society is obsessed with degrading/mocking black women/womanhood. So, it’s nice to watch a program where black women are valued. This is a very important message for black girls and young black women. Young folks are the most vulnerable to internalizing the racist/sexist propaganda used against black women.  It’s up to grown black women to provide safe spaces for black girls and show them positive alternatives. That’s why I have much respect for Beverly Bond and her creation of “Black Girls Rock.” She saw a need and did something about it.

The show was solid from beginning to end. Of course, I got a bit teary-eyed. The honorees were all fabulous and deserved their hard-earned awards. I like that Black Girls Rock not only focuses on celebrities, but the everyday black girl/woman. The grassroots work of black girls/women is not honored enough. There are so many DIY black women out there sacrificing their time, money, homes, etc., to make their communities a better place.  All the performances were on point, because black girls rock 😉  My favorite performances:

Kelly Rowland, Sevyn Streeter, and Eve

Alice Smith

Patti Labelle

 Support Black Girls Rock and their mission of positivity for black girls and young black women.

Kelly Rowland: The X Factor

Kelly Rowland is a cutie pie to me. She has the standard talent required of r&b singers today (sexy looks, generic voice), but she works it. Actually, I think she holds back. Despite saying she has come into her own, I think she’s still afraid to truly embrace her power. I won’t get too deep into why I think that is  😉 …Rowland will be a judge on the third season of The X Factor (USA). She was previously a judge on the UK edition. I wish her well!!

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