Colorism is one of the biggest issues in the music industry and is a huge reason as to why so many talented dark skinned Black women go unnoticed. Everyday there’s a new light skinned artist rising to the top overnight, talented or not, while dark skinned Black women continue to hustle and be ignored by not only their peers in the industry but also to potential audiences. If they’re not deemed attractive or respectable enough then they’re thrown to the side and ignored, despite having immense talent and something special to share to the world.
It’s even harder being an indie artist when you’re dark skinned because you’re doing most of the work, so here’s a little list to put you on to some new artists. It’s time we actively start recognizing upcoming dark skinned talent and giving them the support not out of pity but simply because they deserve it.
One of my favorite rappers of all time, Noname poetically raps over nostalgic melodies that bring back bittersweet memories you thought you’d forgotten. She nonchalantly raps about pressing and serious issues like police brutality, substance abuse, poverty, abortion, etc. in a soothing and poetic way that makes you want to lie in bed and stare at the ceiling in a trance as you listen. You can listen to her debut mixtape here and here.
Straight out of Chattanooga, Tennessee, BbyMutha is the embodiment of “Black girls from the hood are the original carefree Black girls.” Rocking colorful wigs and outfits to match, BbyMutha throws away all notions of respectability as Black woman and single mother when candidly rapping with her Southern accent about things like sex and Black womanhood.
3. St. Beauty
This singing duo from Atlanta has been making waves recently not only from their beautiful and dreamy visuals, but also from their angelic singing voices. Check out their album here and their latest music video for their song “Not Discuss It”, a personal fave of mine.
She’s most known for being anonymous but that doesn’t take away from the fact that she has a stellar voice. In fact, her anonymous identity and obscure looks pretty much force you to focus on the music which is the best part. Over the years it’s felt like R&B has taken a turn for the worst and even disappeared but singers like H.E.R (no punt intended) are helping bring it back to life. Check out her album here.
After hearing her featured on Scales with Solange on A Seat At The Table, checking out Kelela should’ve already been an automatic requirement. Kelela is another stellar R&B singer that’s not only widely loved for her futuristic R&B sound, but also her fearless nature when speaking out on inequality and being a Black woman in a world that doesn’t want to see us win. You can stream her debut album here.
Stay tuned for part 2 next week where we introduce you to more artists to check out!
“Erin Dyana is a freelance writer with a focus on pop culture, criticisms, and beauty. Her work has been featured in Teen Vogue, Urban Social TV, Wear Your Voice Magazine, Clementine Zine, and Philadelphia Print Zine. In her free time she likes to create art, watch films, read books, and eat everything in sight."