In honor of the Billboard Women In Music Awards last month and because we LOVE women who slay, here’s a list of some very talented, very outspoken women in music who inspire their fans and show the world that women RULE.
She’s got style, sass, and has really and truly come into her own with the release of her last album, Revival. As the title alludes, it was a new beginning for Selena Gomez and a representation of the woman she’s become.
Selena took a break from the spotlight last August, postponing the remaining dates of her Revival Tour in order to focus on her well-being. The singer has been very outspoken about her struggle with lupus and its effects on her mental health.
She made her return to the public eye on November 20, 2016 at the American Music Awards, delivering a powerful, tearful speech as she accepted her award for Favorite Female Pop/Rock Artist:
I think it’s safe to say most of you know my life whether I liked it or not. And I had to stop. Because I had everything—and I was absolutely broken inside. I kept it all together enough to where I would never let you down, but I kept it too much together to where I let myself down. I’m not trying to get validation, nor do I need it anymore. All I can say is I’m so grateful that I have the opportunity to be able to share what I love every day with people that I love. But if you are broken, you do not have to stay broken.
Well said, Selena.
Andra Day has a voice with too much soul to handle, and her song “Rise Up” has quickly become an anthem for strength and positivity, especially for women.
The San Diego native joined Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas on their Future Now Tour last summer to do an amazing collaboration of the song in remembrance of those who lost their lives at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida earlier this year. The video gives me chills.
Andra received the Powerhouse Award at the Women In Music Awards.
Kesha showed us what real strength was during her lawsuit against her producer, Dr. Luke, whom she accused of sexual assault. Critics flooded in, insisting that she was a liar. To make matters worse, the court system wasn’t on her side either, deciding that she should continue working with the man who may have assaulted her.
Thankfully, Kesha’s fellow women in music, including JoJo and Lady Gaga, sent her an outpouring of support, and her fans showed up to her court dates with signs reminding her that she is loved.
thank you for all the support in my legal case animals. i love all of you. it's meant the world to me. xoxo pic.twitter.com/arHNPSxFs8
— kesha (@KeshaRose) February 18, 2016
I sincerely hope she’ll see the justice she deserves. Until then, she’s an inspiration to survivors everywhere.
Kesha was also honored with the Trailblazer Award at the Women In Music Awards.
Pink is a force to be reckoned with, from her extremely underrated vocal ability to her stance on important issues. Like many celebrities, she’s a consistent Twitter user. What I love is that she uses it to push for positivity and take a stand for what she believes in.
She constantly takes on the disillusioned Twitter trolls and it’s beautiful.
So I should stop re tweeting about charity too? Bullying? Love? I should just shut my female mouth shouldn't I? Just smile and look pretty? https://t.co/Mecp7wbMWU
— P!nk (@Pink) October 30, 2016
Here's a blanket statement for all you angry fingered trolls. This nasty woman right here doesn't have a mute button.
— P!nk (@Pink) October 30, 2016
I applaud you, Pink.
Everyone knows Ariana Grande for her soaring high notes, but she’s also extremely vocal about self-love. In this day and age, young women need someone like that to look up to. Ariana’s had her share of controversy in the media, but sometimes the positivity is so much more meaningful.
The 23-year-old addressed a rude body-shaming comment about her on Instagram last year, and it was so warranted.
Sigh. Tweets, comments, statement like this are not okay. About anyone!!! We live in a day and age where people make it IMPOSSIBLE for women, men, anyone to embrace themselves exactly how they are. Diversity is sexy! Loving yourself is sexy!
You know what is NOT sexy? Misogyny, objectifying, labeling, comparing and body shaming!!! Talking about people’s body’s as if they’re on display ASKING for your approval / opinion. THEY ARE NOT!!!! CELEBRATE YOURSELF. CELEBRATE OTHERS.
The things that make us different from one another make us BEAUTIFUL. BODY BOUNDARIES. LOVE LOVE LOVE ONLY.
Women celebrating women. We’re all about that!
Lady Gaga has always been outspoken about women’s rights, and one of the foremost examples of what it is to be a woman who empowers her fellow women.
— xoxo, Joanne (@ladygaga) November 15, 2016
She extended her love to Kesha when the lawsuit against Dr. Luke came to light, and has offered her support to Selena during her fight against lupus, anxiety, and depression.
Not to mention, Lady Gaga has always been a proponent of equality and LGBTQ rights, which were always evident in her music (“Born This Way,” for example.)
JoJo’s been through hell and back to release her third album, Mad Love, but throughout it all, she remained positive and it’s been inspiring to watch. She’s admitted to struggling with addiction and accepting her own body. In fact, at one point, she was pressured into injecting herself with hormones to lose weight.
Since then, she’s figured out that it’s all about loving who you are and what you’ve got, as she wrote in a personal essay for Motto.
You do not need to conform. You can be your best self, and it may not look like what others expect of you. Give yourself a break. Breathe. You don’t need to make excuses or apologizes for taking up space, taking your time and being true to you. Whether that’s skinny, thick, athletic, chubby, or however you describe yourself… It’s all good. When you accept who you are, it’s only a matter of time before others have no choice but to follow suit.
Alessia Cara came onto the scene a little over a year ago with her hit, “Here,” showing amazing lyrical talent for someone who wasn’t even in her 20s yet. Since then, she’s continued to make her mark as an advocate for self-confidence and acceptance in young women.
The Canadian native recently joined the I Am That Girl movement, which provides a safe space for girls and young women to gather and talk about any topic that sparks their curiosity.
Alessia has always been completely unapologetic about being who she is. Just because she’s in the spotlight doesn’t mean she can’t wear whatever she feels comfortable in, on stage and off.
Alessia received the Rule-Breaker Award at Billboard’s Women In Music.
Bay Area native Kehlani has always been outspoken in encouraging her fans to be their own person and fight for their dreams no matter what it takes. Things were rough for her earlier this year, when rumors were circling that she’d cheated on her then-boyfriend. The constant social media harassment caused Kehlani, by her own admission, to attempt suicide.
Thankfully, she’s bounced back stronger than ever, radiating confidence and a wisdom that I personally love seeing on her social media.
“Don’t beat yourself up. When you fall, dust it off and get up. You’ve got time and no one’s rushing you. It’s your world,” the singer wrote on Twitter in September.
Here’s to women who consistently spread love and positivity to everyone around them. May we know them and become like them.
Bradleigh is a co-founder and content curator for The Sirens Rise with a BA in Media Studies. Her favorite things to do are listen to music, get lost in a book, write for hours, and eat way more chocolate than one human being ever should.