9 Black Women in Contemporary Music

9 Black Women in Contemporary Music

WRITTEN BY Elizabeth Nelms

It is Women’s History Month, and what better way to celebrate than a playlist uplifting Black women in music?

Nova Twins

Nova Twins are a grime and punk influenced British rock act, featuring singer and guitarist Amy Love and bassist Georgia South. 

Their debut album “Who Are the Girls” was released in 2020, but the duo has been releasing music since 2014. Their song Taxi showcases their affinity for heavy, powerful riffs.

Arlo Parks

This indie songwriter just released her debut album “Collapsed in Sunbeams” this year. Her sweet vocals make her melodies float lightly over dreamy, reverb-heavy instrumentals. 

Her track Green Eyes exemplifies this best, showing influences from acts such as Beach House in its echoey guitars.

Noname

Noname is a Chicago-based rapper, who first gained interest in music through slam poetry. Her roots in this art form are evident in her flows, such as on tracks such as Diddy Bop, off of her 2016 album “Telefone.”

Bibi Bourelly

Bourelly works behind the scenes as a songwriter, with writer credits on Rihanna’s B*tch Better Have My Money, and vocal features on a myriad of other tracks. 

She is yet to release a full-length solo album, but her three solo EPs show off her penchant for strong melodies, such as on tracks such as Ego.

Chloe x Halle

This R&B duo from Atlanta consists of Chloe and Halle Bailey, two sisters who trade off and harmonize vocals effortlessly, such as on tracks like Forgive Me.

Janelle Monae

Monae’s lack of chart success in comparison to her pop singer peers feels almost criminal when listening to her tight, polished funk-pop tracks, such as the title track of her 2013 album “Electric Lady.”

SZA

Her sophomore album “Ctrl” took the internet by storm in 2017, with its lyrical themes of nostalgia and reflections on sexuality set to looping, catchy beats. 

However, she shines best on tracks such as the album’s closing song, 20 Something, in which she bares her soul over a minimal guitar line.

FKA Twigs

Influenced by trip-hop acts such as Massive Attack, this British alternative singer draws from a variety of genres to create a unique sound, which can be heard on tracks such as the ballad Cellophane.

Kehlani

Kehlani’s music career began with the vocal group PopLyfe, who appeared on “America’s Got Talent” in 2011. 

After parting ways with the group, she embarked on her own solo career, and garnered critical acclaim with her debut mixtape, “Cloud 19,” in 2014, with tracks such as FWU being cited as standouts.

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