The music industry, like most professional fields, does not give equal opportunities for success, and disproportionately places expectations onto Black women. Black women in the music industry face continuous misogyny, racial discrimination, as well as unnecessary critique and comparisons pushed through the media.
For all women in media, reaching a certain level of sex appeal often significantly raise the chances of success. On top of that, Black women specifically face frequent acts of colorism that are pushed by their male counterparts. Oftentimes, Black female artists are pitted against each other, arguing that one is better than the other. However, these conversations are rarely about the quality of music; rather, they aren’t focused on talent at all, and instead on the way the artists look. Hypersexualization of Black female musicians in modern society has a certain stereotype: that they only talk about sex. Misogynists use this stereotype to discredit the genre of female rap entirely.
Cardi B called out a viewer’s ignorance for claiming that female rappers only rap about sex by saying, “There’s a lot of female rappers that be rapping they ass off, and don’t be talking about they p—-, and don’t be talking about y’know getting down and dirty, and y’all don’t be supporting them. … Don’t blame that shit on us, when y’all be the ones not supporting them.”
The overall lack of respect and support for Black women in the music industry seems to be the main obstacle to their success. Platforms like TMZ push narratives that encourage listeners to pick between artists. For example, take the entire Cardi B vs. Nicki Minaj media debate, which forced fans to pick between the two artists. This sense of competition is entirely unproductive and perpetuates the idea that two successful Black women in the same genre of music cannot coexist, and must be pitted against one another. In reality, both rappers should be appreciated as distinct artists instead of two people competing for the same position.
Black women in the industry should not have to fight harder than their male counterparts for respect and fair treatment. These things should be inherent.
It’s time to show support for Black women in all genres of the music industry. They have so many unique contributions to include that need to be seen and heard.