The millennium was a powerful decade for black women. 2002 saw the birth of a slew of new R&B divas that captured our hearts with their dreams to climb to the top. We bought their music and bounced our heads to their tunes, even the risqué ones — remember Tweet’s “Oops (Oh My) and Khia’s “My Neck, My Back (Lick It)”? Over the course of the years though, the female artists we came to adore seemed to have fallen off like abandoned cars on a rural highway, with few contenders from the 90s maintaining relevance. As superstars like Rihanna and Beyoncé continue to dominate the music scene, we wonder whether or not there is still room for more black female artists to co-exist at the top and reignite R&B’s sultry roots? In today’s look at culture, we spotlight five black female artists that we hope can make a strong comeback and reclaim their seats in the music industry.
After breaking up with Country Grammar rapper Nelly, the soprano singer is slowly finding her way back to the stage. Originally debuting in 2002, it appeared that Ashanti was destined to be the good girl gone bad when she finally ended up on Irv Gotti’s Murder Inc. label. Her songs “Foolish”, “What’sLuv?”, and “Always on time” sold us on the petite artist’s talent and skyrocketed her on the charts. However hanging out with the original bad boys slightly soured Ashanti’s blooming success as Murder Inc. plummeled through legal cases and public beefs. After leaving the label in 2009, Ashanti started her own record label and publishing company Written Entertainment and released other songs before falling out of the spotlight for a few years. With her new album Braveheart set to release in June, we’re crossing our fingers that Ashanti can win our hearts all over again. With her entrepreneurial-like spirit and sweet lyrical voice, we truly believe that Ashanti stands a chance.
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Since her banging performance on the collaborative single “Lady Marmalade” and “My Love Is Like …Wo”, many people have wondered what happened to this songstress. We believe that Mýa is extremely talented and had the tools to succeed. She was heavily involved in the production process by wrting several of her songs, but in the end it seemed that she perhaps didn’t have the team she needed to produce the hit-bangers that she needed to make it. Mýa completely fell off the radar in the millennium when her sophomore album, Fear of Flying released in 2000 sold a mere 72,000 copies. She would go on to act for a while, release some tracks in Japan independently, and reappear on Dancing With the Stars, but it seems like Mýa is a musical artist whose talent has simply slipped through the cracks. For Mýa to make it again, she might have to take the Drake approach. If she can drop a fiery-hot mixtape, then she may have the ability to pull herself out of the dark abyss of independent production and back into the mainstream for the American audience.
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The R&B singer debuted in 2002 but it seems that we’ve failed to remember her for more than her 2005 hit single, “1 Thing”. A Georgetown graduate, Ameriie is the epitome of beauty and brains. However, we’ve heard very little from the artist since she left her label Columbia Records and moved to Island Def Jam (except that she changed the spelling of her name…peep that?). She apparently is working on an EP and her fifth studio album, Cymatika Vol. I. For her to make it, we fill that Ameriie is going to have to find a new way to deliver the high-pitched soulful voice that her audience originally fell in love with and up her dance numbers. One thing that’s unique about Ameriie is that she seems to approach music as an art and from an intellectual standpoint; she’s been known to play instruments, write songs, and help build beats. We’re hoping she comes back with a true party banger eclipsed with high energy in her next album before she completely slips off the radar.
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No one can deny that Ciara’s got sex appeal and can dance like a fiend. Inspired by the likes of Michael Jackson and Destiny’s Child, the Atlanta-bred singer danced her way into our hearts with “Goodies” and “1,2 Step” back in 2005. But after her 2006 debuts of “Promise” and “Like a Boy”, the R&B princess seemed to slowly lose relevance. Her success cannot be denied — she’s sold more than seven million lbums worldwide. However, her brand as an artist had seemed to fall flat after she suffered from inadequate promotion and funding as an artist under Jive Records. What Ciara does well is exemplify the “lady in the street but a freak in the bed” image as the sexy songstress who can pop, lock, and drop it. With her recent releases of “Sorry” and “Body Party” and a move to Epic records, Ciara seems to be getting back to the basics and being more honest and real in her lyrics. Although we believe Ciara should already be a super superstar by now, we’re hopeful that the rawness of her new album One Woman Army and the high-intensity dance numbers that are so signature of her will bring her right back to the top.
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These days you’ll catch the Cuban R&B singer more so on-screen than in the booth recording, which makes sense since Milian originally wanted to be an actress. She entered the game at 19 in 2001, after signing to Def Jam and many may know her for her 2006 single “Say I” from her So Amazin’ album. Months after the single’s release, Milian left Island Records due to creative differences, signed with Interscope for a brief stint in 2009, and finally landed with Young Money Entertainment where she is reportedly working on her fourth studio album. Millian has buzzed in and out of music headlines, particularly due to her recent (and short) marriage to singer The Dream. Since she is currently working as a social media correspondent for NBC’s The Voice we’re wondering whether or not Milian still has the juice in her to produce some solid hits or if she’s simply just staging a major crossover from music to film. We’re hoping she’ll bang out a few more hits before hanging up the towel for good and heading west to the Hills – since we all know her single “Dip It Low” sort of tickled our fancy and left us wanting more.
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