National Women’s Day is around the corner and it’s time to start prepping your playlist. This year alone has seen bold babes like Lizzo and Billie Eilish light up international music charts, so finding some killer female voices to jam to on the 9th of August won’t be difficult.
But even back in 1956, song was at the heart of the women’s march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria. After the silent protest against pass laws, the 20?000 women sang a protest song that was composed in honour of the occasion: Wathint'Abafazi Wathint'imbokodo! (you strike the women, you strike the rock).
Music and female artists are so much more than just another hit maker, they have shaped, changed and challenged the industry through the decades.
Here are 5 female artists who have rocked the music industry in their own way and became legends along the way:
1. BeyoncéWhether you see her as Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter, Sasha Fierce or simply Queen B, Beyoncé and all her personas have proven that girls do run the world. From smashing world records to having her records smash the billboard, Beyoncé has done it all and uses her reign to celebrate black womanhood.
At age 37, Beyoncé has a built a fortune and still holds her place on Forbes 2019 list of highest earning entertainers. Besides being the most-nominated woman in Grammy history, JuJu was also the first woman to win six Grammys in one night in 2010 which included Song of The Year for "Single Ladies". In total, she has won 23 Grammys in her career.
British-born star Adele rose to fame from an early age. Titled by her age at the time of production, her hit albums ‘19’, ‘21’ and ‘25’ are a reminder that anything is possible if you set your mind to it. Besides being an inspiration for young women, Adele is a role-model for body positivity and doesn’t let the world tell her what shape a superstar needs to be. In an interview with People magazine she made this clear when she said, “I’ve never wanted to look like models on the cover of magazines. I represent the majority of women and I’m very proud of that.”
Alongside Beyoncé, Adele holds the record for the most Grammys won by a female artist in one night. She won six awards in 2012 including Album of The Year for 21 and Record and Song Of The Year for "Rolling In The Deep."
Madonna Louise Ciccone is the Queen of Pop for good reason. She’s been a trendsetter since the 80’s and few have managed to top some of her boisterous on-stage statements. From the infamous cone-bra to her 1984 performance of “Like a Virgin” in a wedding dress, Madonna can be considered one of the first female artists to really push the limits of stage-etiquette. According to Billboard, Madonna is also the most successful solo artist in its Hot 100 chart history and she’s noted as the best-selling female recording artist of all time by Guinness World Records.
4. Miriam Makeba
Miriam Makeba, fondly known as Mama Africa, was a legend for so many reasons. She made Afropop and world music a crowd favourite with songs like “Pata, Pata” and “The Click Song”.
But that wasn’t all Miriam used her voice for. In 1963, she testified against apartheid at the United Nations and spoke out against the crimes in South Africa. She consequently lost her citizenship for it but that didn’t silence her. She went on to win a Grammy for Best Ethnic or Traditional Folk Recording just three years later in 1966 and remained a beloved performer until her passing in 2008.
5. Missy Elliot
In the male-dominated rap scene, Missy Elliott is a trailblazer and it’s for this reason that she makes the list of fearless females who have changed the music industry. Since her breakthrough in the hip-hop scene, she’s paved the way for artists like Nicky Minaj and Cardi-B to make their mark as female rappers.
Besides being an all-round badass, Missy’s album “Under Construction” became the biggest selling rap album by a female artist in 2002. Her single “Work It” reached No.2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and won MTV video of the year.
6. LADY Zamar
Yamikani Janet Banda, better known as LADY Zamar, is a South African hip-hop trailblazer and the Queen of House music. Born and raised in Gauteng, LADY Zamar always loved music but never knew she was going to make a career of it. "I was in a poetry society and we did a lot of freestyling and one day someone heard me there," the golden girl of hip-hop said in an interview on the Expresso Show. One thing led to another and before she knew it her hit "Mamelodi" with Junior Taurus was released.
Now Lady Zamar has a golden track record when it comes to awards. She recently won the Sampra Highest Airplay of the Year award for her song "Collide" and also won the Best Dance Album award at the 2018 South African Music Awards.
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This post is sponsored by JOOX and produced by Brandstudio24 for Channel24.