Listening to Black Female Rappers Helps Our Daughters Build Confidence
Janelle Michelson eagerly scrolls through her phone, her eyes fixated on the screen of the tiny communication device. A few seconds later, the lyrics of "Body" by Megan Thee Stallion blasts the air of our Zoom call. Janelle, 13, from Houston, prefers listening to music as her form of entertainment as opposed to social media or watching TV, just like many other teenagers. For this teenager, however, her choice of song is a bit different.
Her mom, 35-year-old Clare Michelson, curated her playlist to mostly include body-positive songs from Black female artists like Lizzo and Megan Thee Stallion. Michelson says this move was done with the intent of acquainting her daughter with body-positive lyrics that would boost her confidence.
Music has always been a great tool for empowerment, and for many adolescent girls who often report higher instances of being dissatisfied with their bodies, listening to body-positive lyrics could be a great way for them to boost body esteem. The larger music scene, however, has continuously promoted certain body type—slim, Caucasian girls—making it difficult for Black girls like Janelle to resonate with what is often portrayed. Listening to Black female rappers changes this dynamic.