It's Black Music Month. Enjoy the 2014 series. Support the artists. Buy their licensed music. And turn up as you dance along.
Brief history: In 2010, I wrote a music series honoring Black Music Month on Associated Content's site (republished on Examiner). The focus was to honor new R&B singers, veteran R&B singers, solo rappers, and evenly split the musical salute between female and male rappers. The only artists I was not willing to split up were Salt n' Pepa because they worked as a unit. In 2014, it's about time to salute more artists, but in the spirit of Salt n' Pepa's legacy, R&B groups and rap groups will be included. The pattern in 2014 will be newer R&B singers (from 2000 to present), R&B and/or hip-hop groups, veteran R&B singers, and then solo rappers, still evenly split between women and men.
Black Music Month Turn Up Factor "Turn down for what?": The group members of Destiny's Child may have changed from 1990 to 2000, but the music never suffered. LeToya Luckett, Farrah Franklin and LaTavia Roberson left the group at various times, and Kelly Rowland was the first to go solo. Since then, the three most notable members (Kelly, Beyonce and Michelle) have been successful on their own. There's no disputing that these three ladies are great entertainers, singers and dancers. But as a group, they were incredible. Now whether they're better as a group or solo is a matter of opinion, but there's no drastic difference between what they make collectively or independently (although Michelle leaned towards gospel). And the massive amount of excitement all over social networking to see them together at the Super Bowl 2013 confirmed that fans would still have absolutely no problem with the group getting back together again. These three put out top-notch music no matter what, and what's better is the trio still seem to be genuine friends.
My Connection/First Memory to Artist: I thought "No, No, No" was a cool song and I'd dated a couple of "bugaboos." But during my college years when "Independent Women" released, that was the national anthem for women around campus and very necessary. With so much music ridiculing and insulting women, it was a great relief to see some girl power. Destiny's Child was always good for uplifting women as opposed to making us look terrible. There was some finger wagging about the song "Cater 2 U," but show me a woman in a happy relationship who doesn't follow this motto and I'll show you a liar. These ladies have never said you have to give up your career, your dreams and bow down to kiss a man's feet, but they've always been as quick to embrace successful women as they encourage loving relationships. And even if you hated the song, how could you not love the reaction from Nelly, Terrence Howard and Magic Johnson when they got that lap dance at the 2005 BET Awards?
Numbers Don't Lie: Michelle Williams won big time on the Gospel Billboard charts with "Do You Know" (on the gospel charts for 20 weeks, peaked at number two) and "Heart to Yours" (on the gospel charts for 46 weeks, peaked at number one). Kelly Rowland's "Motivation" stayed on the Radio Billboard charts for 24 weeks (peaked at number 10). "Kisses Down Low" and "Ice" made it to the top 10 on Hot R&B songs from the Billboard charts, too. "Kisses Down Low" hung around for 20 weeks (peaked at number nine) and "Ice" lasted 10 weeks (peaked at number eight). Beyonce's 2013 album broke iTunes history as the highest selling album ever, selling 617,000 in three days. And she's had a laundry list of number one singles on the Billboard Top 100, including "Drunk in Love" (20 weeks, peaked at number two), "Sweet Dreams" (29 weeks, peaked at number 10), "Halo" (31 weeks, peaked at number five), "Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It) (27 weeks, peaked at number one), "If I Were a Boy" (20 weeks, peaked at number three), "Irreplaceable" (30 weeks, peaked at number one), "Deja Vu" (17 weeks, peaked at number four), "Check On It" (28 weeks, peaked at number one), "Naughty Girl" (22 weeks, peaked at number three), "Me, Myself and I" (24 weeks, peaked at number four), "Baby Boy" (29 weeks, peaked at number one) and "Crazy In Love" (27 weeks, peaked at number one).
But as a group, they were also winning. Their top 10 hits on the Billboard Top 100 include "No, No, No" (35 weeks, peaked at number three), "Bills, Bills, Bills" (20 weeks, peaked at number one), "Jumpin', Jumpin'" (32 weeks, peaked at number three), "Say My Name" (32 weeks, peaked at number one), "Independent Women Pt. 1" (28 weeks, peaked at number one), "Survivor" (20 weeks, peaked at number two), "Bootylicious" (19 weeks, peaked at number one), "Emotion" (20 weeks, peaked at number 10), "Lose My Breath" (23 weeks, peaked at number three) and "Soldier" (21 weeks, peaked at number three).
For the first series of Black Music Month artists republished on Examiner (originally on Associated Content), click here to see all 30.
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