Black female artists have always held a strong image in American music and art. The stereotypical image of a black woman soulfully singing about God or playing the token pawn in horror flicks is finally starting to change, however. This year, some artists have risen above and taken a stance that is controversial as they take pride in their heritage and challenge the status quo.
Beyonce Dropped “Formation”
Just one day before her scheduled performance at the Super Bowl, Beyonce dropped the video for the song “Formation.” The song has some explicit lyrics and some edgy themes, bringing police brutality, outrage over Hurricane Katrina, and her own banging style out into the naked daylight. Beyonce rocked some serious fashions and unapologetically owned both her southerness and her blackness. She set fire to the internet by showing up with a team of dancers in Black Panthers’ gear to perform the song at the Super Bowl the next day.
The Oscars Were Called Out
The Oscars have been a white washed affair in the past, but this year the Oscars were called out for their extreme lack of diversity in nominations. The 2015-2016 movie year had a lot of stunning performances by black and female artists. No minorities at all were nominated, and only a few women made the cut. The backlash was so huge that the Academy actually addressed the issue and created a five year plan to bring more diversity to the Oscars.
The Emmy Awards Set a Milestone
This year’s Emmy Awards were less disappointing than the Oscars when it came to recognizing talent. Viola Davis was the first black female to win an award for lead actress in a drama. She won for her role in “Getting Away with Murder.” This is a heartening development and should prove to become the norm with the wide range of show offerings and casting that streaming is bringing into the mix.