15 Black Female Artists Dominating the Music Industry
By: Lauryn Jiles
The music industry owes a lot to Black women. Artists like Beyoncé, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, and more have paved the way for Black women in an industry that is inherently racist and sexist. Many Black women took over the industry, with their powerful vocals, incredible performances, talent, and hard work.
With the racism and sexism embedded in the industry, Black women have to work twice as hard and put in much more effort to get the props and respect that their white counterparts are given. Even in 2020, the music industry and the world put a harsh spotlight on women, particularly Black women, despite that without Black artists genres like Hip-Hop, Rock, Country, and R&B would cease to exist.
Today, Black women are still dominating the music industry and coming out on top. Many Black women have taken over the rap industry. After the release of Pink Friday by Nicki Minaj in 2010, the world of female rap rebooted. Many women started to follow suit, entering the rap game, and showcasing their talents to the world. Artists like Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, and Rihanna paved the way for Black women in R&B and pop.
From genres like Pop to Rap to R&B, here are 15 of our favorite Black female artists that should be on your playlists!
Chloe and Halle
Chloe and Halle are a sister duo who have been killing it in the music industry lately. Their latest album, Ungodly Hour, was released in June 2020. Since becoming viral on Youtube for their cover of Beyoncé’s “Pretty Hurts,” the sisters have been signed under Beyoncé’s label, been featured in her Lemonade film, and opened up for the queen herself, during Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s On the Run Tour ll. Chloe and Halle were also the cover stars for Teen Vogue’s June issue, performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live in August, and starred in Fendi’s #MeAndMyPeekaboo campaign. The sisters also performed at MTV’s Video Music Awards earlier this week and released a remix of their song “Do It” featuring the City Girls, Doja Cat, and Mulatto.
The R&B singer/songwriter duo are also actors and have secured multiple roles in the past few years. They are best known for playing twins, Jazlyn and Skylar, in the popular Freeform show, Grown-ish, and they even sing the theme song to the show. Halle is also set to play Ariel in Disney’s live-action version of The Little Mermaid.
A former member of Fifth Harmony, Normani is a pop singer and dancer that had a successful solo career/ Her single, “Motivation,” debuted last year and went platinum, with the music video garnering over 100 million views.
Normani has collaborated with popular artists like Meg Thee Stallion, Khalid, and Sam Smith. She opened up for Ariana Grande during the first half of her Sweetener tour and also appeared in Cardi B and Meg the Stallion’s WAP music video. Normani has graced the cover of magazines like Cosmopolitan, Rolling Stone, and Fader within the past year and is also an ambassador for Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty lingerie line. With her incredible vocals and dancing skills, Normani is working her way up to the top.
Flo Milli is a 20-year-old rapper from Mobile, Alabama known for popular singles like “In The Party,” “Not Friendly,” and “Beef FloMix” from her debut album. Milli is proving to be one of the best female rappers in the game. Her album, which was released this year, has become extremely popular, with Tik Tok users creating viral dances to her music.
The rapper is known for her fun and confident lyrics and has even had popular artists like Missy Elliott, Kehlani, and the City Girls praise her rapping skills. Flo Milli has found an incredible amount of success this year and has even teased potential collaborations with DaBaby, Rico Nasty, and other artists.
Megan Thee Stallion
25-year-old rapper, Megan thee Stallion, has become an unstoppable force over the past year. With collaborations from artists like Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, and Cardi B, Meg is climbing up to the top, becoming a powerhouse in the industry. Last year, Meg found herself gaining a huge amount of success after her performance in the XXL Freshman Freestyle.
Her third album, Fever, which was released last year before her XXL performance, quickly became a hit. Since then, she has released her album Suga, been featured on Cardi B’s latest hit, “WAP,” and released a remix of her popular single, Savage, featuring Beyoncé. Meg has also graced the cover of well-known magazines like Marie Claire, Fader, and Paper Magazine and she is also an ambassador for Rihanna’s lingerie line.
The City Girls are a hip-hop duo consisting of rappers, JT, and Yung Miami. The duo, who are both from Miami, made their debut in 2018 with the release of their albums, Period, and Girl Code. They are best known for their singles, “Take Yo Man” and “Act Up,” and their music video for the song, Twerk, featuring Cardi B has garnered over 164 million views on Youtube.
This duo has become extremely popular, topping the charts and becoming a household name. Their latest album, City On Lock, was released earlier this summer with features from Doja Cat and Lil Baby. Signed under Quality Control, this duo is rising to the top and making a name for themselves. In a recent interview with Complex, the City Girls talk about how women are dominating the rap industry right now.
Lizzo is another artist that has gained an immense amount of success within the past year. The Detroit native is signed to Atlantic Records. She released her second album, Cuz I Love You, last year, with features from Missy Elliott and Gucci Mane. Since then, she has collaborated with artists like Ariana Grande and DaBaby.
In 2019, Lizzo was nominated for eight grammy’s and won three in categories for best pop solo performance, best traditional r&b performance, and best urban contemporary album. Lizzo performed with Harry Styles at the Brit Awards in February and has recently teamed up with sunglass brand, Quay, to encourage young people to vote.
In June, Lizzo dropped a Tik Tok video of her workout routine and quickly faced backlash and hate comments about her weight. The musician responded with a powerful message about weight and health stating, “Health is not just determined by what you look like on the outside, health is also what happens on the inside. I am beautiful, I am strong, I do my job, I stay on my job,” Lizzo said in a Tik Tok video. In August, Lizzo also signed a deal with Amazon to develop and produce a television show. While the details of the show are still unknown, Lizzo and the head of Amazon Studios, Jennifer Salke, have expressed their excitement for the new show.
Another woman who has been killing it in the industry is Saweetie, a 26-year-old rapper from California. Saweetie has been topping the charts lately with her newest single, “Tap In,” which has skyrocketed since the song became viral on Tik Tok. The rapper first blew up after the release of her single, “Icy Girl” in 2018. Since then, she has dominated the charts with her latest album, ICY, and collaborated with artists like City Girls and Quavo. Last week, Saweetie released a remix to her song, “Tap In,” with Post Malone, DaBaby, and Jack Harlow.
In a recent interview with Complex, Saweetie talked about being related to Gabrielle Union and Zaytoven, explaining why she refused help from her famous relatives and wanted to make a name for herself without their help. “I have so much pride. I believe in being self-made and trying to figure things out on my own. I appreciated that they reached out and were like, ‘We see what you’re doing and if you need our help please let us know.’ So I appreciate the support, but for me, I’ve always been self-motivated. So instead of asking for help, I just wanted to see if I could do it on my own,” she said.
Earlier this year, Saweetie was featured on the soundtrack for the DC Comics film, Birds of Prey. In the past few months, she has appeared on Vogue’s Youtube channel, where viewers got to see how she spends her day, and GQ’s channel, where she asked boyfriend and rapper, Quavo, 44 questions.
Just a few weeks ago, rapper, Cardi B released her latest hit “WAP,” featuring Meg Thee Stallion. After the release of the song, Cardi was criticized by men and many conservative political figures due to the explicit and sexual lyrics. Despite the criticism, the song and music video were met with immediate success. The video gained over 26 million views on Youtube within the first 24 hours of its release and has gained over 155 million views. The song skyrocketed to Billboard’s hot 100, taking the number one spot during its debut week.
Many publications took to Cardi and Megan’s defense of the song. The New York Times and Complex praised the song as an anthem of sexual confidence. Complex even went on to call “WAP” the epitome of female empowerment. In her song, Cardi dismantles stereotypes and proves that she can promote female empowerment in a male-dominated genre.
If you spend an egregious amount of time on Tik Tok, then you’ve probably heard of Rico Nasty or listened to one of her songs. The 23-year-old rapper is making a name for herself, combining multiple music genres and wearing unique outfits and makeup looks both on and off stage. Rico Nasty is known for combining elements of punk, rap, and metal in many of her songs.
With a style is completely different from most rappers, Rico Nasty has taken a liking upon Gen Z, with many of them using her songs on platforms like Tik Tok. The rapper was one of the three female rappers to be featured on the 2019 XXL Freshman Freestyle. Her music video for her newest song, “iPhone,” was released just two weeks ago. The song is the first single from her upcoming album, Nightmare Vacation, which is set to release this year. Rico Nasty has also announced that she will be collaborating with the makeup brand, IL Makiage, to release a beauty line.
Tierra Whack first started to gain recognition after the release of her debut album, Whack World, in 2018. Since then, the 25-year-old rapper from Philadelphia has released multiple hit singles and collaborated with major artists like Beyoncé and Lil Yachty. The up-and-coming rapper is already dominating the industry with a Grammy nomination and features on sites such as Vogue, W Magazine, and Bustle. Tierra Whack also made a cameo in Beyoncé’s Black is King film on Disney Plus, was featured on the Lovecraft Country soundtrack, was one of the three women of the 2019 Freshman XXL class, and graced the cover of Teen Vogue in March.
Ivana and Jessica Nwokike are the sister duo, VanJess. This R&B duo from Nigeria got their start by making song covers on Youtube where their fan base quickly started to grow. They have collaborated with artists such as GoldLink, MNEK, and Ari Lennox. Since their newfound fame, the sisters have released multiple singles and were featured in an interview for Vogue U.K. where they discussed working together, the music of their culture, and collaborating with GoldLink. VanJess released their newest single, “Come Over” on September 3rd.
Ryan Destiny is one of the most underrated singers in the R&B music industry. The 25-year-old singer from Detroit has been showing off her singing skills after being cast in the Fox musical drama show, ‘Star,” which was her first big acting gig. Since the show’s cancellation in 2019, Destiny has released three solo projects and been cast alongside Chloe and Halle in Freeform’s Grown-ish. Destiny’s latest single, “Do You” was praised by ELLE Magazine and Teen Vogue. She also served as the cover star for Teen Vogue earlier this year, where she spoke about her experience as a Black woman in Hollywood.
Kash Doll is a 28-year-old rapper from Detroit, Michigan, who is signed to Republic Records. Fans first started to take notice of Kash Doll, when her song and music video, “For Everybody,” was released in 2017. Since then, Kash Doll has released two albums. Her album, Stacked, was released last year and features artists like Big Sean, Lil Wayne, and Summer Walker.
Kash Doll is best known for her singles, “Ice Me Out” and “Doin Too Much.” She was featured on the Charlie’s Angel soundtrack last year and collaborated with ELLE Magazine in May, giving fans a tour of her home and showing them her morning routine. Recently, Billboard named her song, “Ice Me Out,” as a No. 1 song on the top Triller charts.
Chika is a Nigerian-American rapper, who has used her social media platforms to become a breakout star. The rapper first went viral in 2018 after posting a freestyle on Twitter, calling out Kayne West for his support towards Donald Trump. After going viral, the rapper utilized her social media to gain more interaction with her music and soon began to gain the attention of celebrities like Cardi B and Wale.
Chika has found a substantial amount of success since her viral freestyle. Last December, the rapper was the cover star for Teen Vogue, where she was interviewed by designer Kerby Jean-Raymond (aka Pyer Moss) on her music, sexuality, fame, and more. In March of this year, she was interviewed by Rolling Stone and is also an XXL Freshman this year.
Last, but not least, is Dreezy, a 26-year-old up-and-coming rapper from Chicago, Illinois. The rapper is gaining a foothold in the industry by working with popular artists like Kash Doll, Gucci Mane, and J. Cole. Her second album, Big Dreez, was just released last year and the rapper also released a remix to the Nicki Minaj song, “Yikes.” The rapper has also gained the attention of Essence Magazine and Pitchfork and is also a brand ambassador for Savage x Fenty.
Honorable Mentions: Justine Skye, Mulatto, Ari Lennox, Kiana Ledé, Kehlani, SZA, Summer Walker. Have you listened to any of these artists? Drop a comment below and let us know who your favorites are!