Sometimes, when life comes at us so fast, our emotions take a tumble. Whether it's heartache, work stress or simply times when we feel less than ourselves, it helps to turn to music to cure our blues. It's the attitude boost the doctor ordered to empower us into feeling like we can take on anything the world throws our way. These seven self-empowerment songs by Black women are from some of our favorite toe-tapping songstresses who give us just the soundtrack we need during tough times. In honor of Women's History Month, turn up the volume and jam along to feel all the uplifting vibes.
Ever since SZA debuted with her 2017 album CTRL, she’s stayed on everyone’s radar for her low-key beats and melodic alternative R&B releases. Her 2022 song "Far” validates any feelings of feeling like you’ve lost yourself, but also reminds listeners they have the power to change the way things are. SZA’s irresistible melody guarantees you’ll be humming it for days while reconnecting with yourself and making it through to better days ahead.
Beyoncé's fans have long praised her for her catalog of hip-swinging love songs, but she’s no stranger to making an empowering anthem. Beyoncé raps along to the hard-hitting beat to get your money right and ignore anyone who tries to put you down on her surprise track "Formation," released in 2016. The pop legend reminds everyone out there that it’s not a man’s world. It’s no wonder that Beyoncé captivates the crowd every time she performs this hit on stage.
“Feeling Good,” Nina Simone
Nina Simone has long been revered for her ability to poetically compose pain and joy into a soulful song. In her 1965 song “Feeling Good," Simone lays out all the small joys in the world that are reason enough to make anyone grin wide for a new day. Simone’s vocals and lyrics subtly empower audiences to find the joys to make themselves "feel good" with each new dawn of their lives.
“Shiny Stockings,” Ella Fitzgerald
Ella Fitzgerald, also referred to as the “First Lady of Song," was no stranger to performing an occasional tongue-in-cheek tune between her longing ballads. “Shiny Stockings," which came out in 1963, features a very playful Fitzgerald mentioning how she has to find a new man after he leaves her for another woman with better stockings. Instead of feeling sorry for herself, she simply resolves to find a new man who likes what she has—a subtle message to listeners to follow her lead. Anyone who needs a pick-me-up to remind them that they have the power to move on will find it in Fitzgerald’s voice.
“Good As Hell,” Lizzo
Lizzo burst onto the popular music charts with tons of energy and spread her message of self-love far and wide. Her infectious bouncy spirits and catchy lyrics on 2016’s “Good As Hell” encourage ladies all over the world to treat themselves right and enjoy the self-love they deserve. The song’s music video continues the positivity, displaying various women flaunting their unique hairstyles and smiling wide for the camera.
“No Scrubs,” TLC
Debuting before the turn of the century, R&B group TLC’s 1999 hit “No Scrubs” struck a chord with women everywhere. Members T-Boz, Left Eye and Chili take turns singing the oft-quoted mantra to not settle for less and set high standards in their relationships. Since the track earned the group a Grammy in 2000, it continues to be essential listening for anyone going through a breakup or looking for a fulfilling relationship.
“Superwoman,” Alicia Keys
Alicia Keys has long been the go-to songstress when you want to produce a mainstream self-empowering single, and her 2008 release “Superwoman” is no exception. She uses the four-minute track to assure all women out in the world that no matter their struggles, they’re heroes who can do it all. Keys' silky smooth voice could be heard singing this Grammy-winning song to commence the 2008 WNBA games, encouraging all women to connect with their inner superheroes.