Lately, I have been in a musical rut. It seems like a lot of singles released by women these days is chiefly concerned with one subject, and one subject alone: relationships with men. One indicator of this is the content of the top 20 songs sung or rapped by women on the Billboard.com. With titles such as “Love the Way You Lie,” or “Your Love” it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see what follows.
Though Rihanna is only featured on the song “Love the Way You Lie,” she delivers a chorus that paints the portrait of a woman in a violent relationship. While Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” is a song that hails one’s home state, it does so by luring men to come to the West Coast because they’ll “fall in love” with daisy-duke and bikini wearing women. Perry’s other song “Teenage dream” is yet another song about a relationship with a man that describes a woman who was “a wreck” before they met and who is now finally “complete” with him. And another nail in the coffin is Nicky Minaj’s “Your Love” that talks about a woman so in love with a man that she would “die hard like Bruce Willis.”
Our romantic relationships are undoubtedly a part of our lives, but what about the other parts? I need music to run, study and commute to that gets me in the zone for those activities without dragging me into that last or next romantic relationship. The message in music conjures up so many emotions and it would be nice to hear these successful women talk about feelings associated with perseverance, goal attainment and struggle overall. Because it is hard out here for a young woman of color writer, student and law school applicant. I have to believe that the intensity that shows up in their romantic situations doesn’t only rear it’s head there.
But, alas, power to the mp3 player. I am no longer at the mercy of my local radio station or music video TV network to give me the update on music. My access to new media has meant that I can largely eclipse the play list set for me by the powers that be. And while things like Billboard and the marketing teams that support many mainstream artists still have incredible sway on the less informed, I have sway over my shit too.
So, in the interest of a subject change, I am starting a playlist for LSATing and commuting that helps me remember my passion for my professional dreams and goals. Off the top of my head, this is what I have come up with: Goapele’s “Closer,” India Arie’s “Strength, Courage and Wisdom” and Jill Scott’s “Sweet Justice,” Jill Scott’s “Try Again.” Got any suggestions?