Welcome to another edition of Melanade, where we feature women of color who are doing great things! This month we are featuring the artistic genius
Singer, songwriter, mother, actress and fashion icon… all of these describe the artist known as Solange Knowles. When your name means “Angel of the sun” you are destined for greatness. This woman has a very eclectic mind that is able to translate the weary ways of the world into a beautiful tapestry of melodies and words. Quickly becoming a voice of her generation, Solo had taken her talent to new heights with her latest project “A Seat at the Table”. She won a Grammy for Best R&B Performance for “Cranes in the Sky” from the same album.
It can’t be easy carving out your own niche in the music industry when your big sis is slaying, but Solange makes it look easy. It reminds me of Janet breaking into her own star, being the little sis of the King of Pop. And just like Janet, Solange’s talent in undeniable and cannot be contained.
For a 30 year old, Solange has accomplished many goals that people twice her age have yet to do. Becoming a mother as a teen, she started her responsible years early, but she has handled her life amazingly. Not only does she write the amazing songs on her own albums, she is an accomplished writer for other artists as well. According to an interview with NecoleBitchie.com, she has written quite a few songs with Mariah Carey in mind and would love to have her sing her creations.
She’s had an undeniable influence on our culture from fashion, to being a proud black woman dawning her natural hair, and artistic movement. Don’t believe me? Listen to what intellectual Kimberly Foster has to say about her.
If you are not up on Solange, I urge you to get to know her. You’ll thank me later.
Welcome to another edition of Melanade, where we feature women of color who are doing great things! This month we are featuring the incomparable Grace Jones!
Sexy! Shocking! Beautiful! Dangerous! Icon Grace Beverly Jones is all of those things and more. She ruled the 80s and is still going strong today. Whether she is tearing up the runway, smoking up the silver screen, rocking the concert stage or gracing us with her loud and proud personality on the tube, Grace is undeniably everything!
A visionary before her time, Grace is still influencing artist all over the globe in 2017. Check the receipts. Rihanna, Beyonce, Lady Gaga and more have her to thank for creating the bar and setting it so high they have something to reach for. Once heard in an interview with Joan Rivers saying she dated twins, she helped break stereotypes that women are not sexual beings.
She unapologetically proved women are not only sexual, but not afraid to ask for what we want. She broke barriers in interracial dating, being from Jamaican descent and dating Swedish twins. Her four year relationship with actor Dolph Lungren was buzzing all over the world. She was also the talk of the town when she starred opposite The Roger Moore in “View to a Kill” as bond girl “Mayday”. And yes, there was a sex scene!
Her career spanned decades proving that she had staying power. My generation remembers her fondly from her role in Eddie Murphy’s cult classic “Boomerang” where she played diva/supermodel Strangé! IMHO that was the defining role to launch her into the stratosphere as the superstar she is in the acting world.
Jones is also known for her music around the world. Her rendition of “Pull up To the Bumper” is still played in heavy rotation. I have never had the pleasure, but I hear her concerts were off the rails!
Grace was never known as the classic beauty according to European standards, but she is edgy and gorgeous just the same. She is a photographer’s dream with the angles of her cheekbones and her squared jaw line. Beauty is not all she possesses. Grace speaks five languages and is an author. Her book “I’ll Never Write My Memoirs” was released in 2015.
She has broken barriers in the entertainment industry, while doing things her way. She never let anyone tell her what she couldn’t do and she thrived in controversy.
Melanade is a place for women of color, who are doing great things in the world, to be honored. I am quite aware that Beah Richards is deceased, however, I feel her voice and bodies of work are still making a great impact in this world.
Beah Richards(1920 – 2000) was a poet, playwright and author, but she was best known as an actress of “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” fame, where she earned an Academy Award nomination.She was a at home on the stage, staring in James Baldwin’s “Amen Corner”. She was also a staple on television throughout her career. In 1988 she received her first Emmy for her performance in ‘Frank’s Place’ and again in 2000 she was honored with the Emmy just days before her death for her role in ‘The Practice’.
She was a strong activist who fought for equality for blacks in America. She did not hold her tongue and was willing to die for her beliefs. In 2004, Lisa Gay Hamilton accepted The Peabody Award for Beah:A Black Woman Speaks, a biographical film about Beah’s life.
I would like to take this moment to honor Mrs. Michelle Obama as the inaugural person in my new feature Melanade. This feature’s goal is to illuminate women of color who exemplify greatness in this world and who use their power for the betterment of women kind. Though I do not claim to be a feminist, I surely am one in my own way, because I admire and uplift women who make life easier for the next woman.
Flawless FLOTUS, that’s the name I dubbed Michelle Obama when she officially took office way back in 2009. I cannot tell you how overjoyed I was to see a strong, yet demure independent woman with brown skin and the grace of a dancer, move into the White House. She is so beautiful, but she also down to earth. She makes you feel as if you could be her good friend and not just in our heads. Mrs. Obama has the ability to charm dignitaries and regular working class people in the same breath. I don’t mind saying I am fascinated by her presence at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave and she will be sorely missed.
Mrs. O took the country by storm and continues to inspire young girls and women still to this day. I can sit here and write about her astute fashion sense, her charming smile, and her great chops as a mom in the spotlight, but I would not do her justice if I did not talk about her ability to shine in her duties as FLOTUS! This Princeton and Harvard educated woman of color took the position of First Lady and did it like no other in that position. Some feminists may say that choosing to shun her education and take a backseat to her husband’s career was anti-feminist, but they couldn’t be more wrong. They forget that she made a choice! There was no forceful takeover of her career. This woman chose to be present in one of the most historic events in my lifetime. It was the right time and place and she was the right person for the job. No one else could have handled things the way she did. She did not bow down to her husband’s will; she chose to use her education to benefit the entire country, while still being a mom.
As the ‘Mom in Chief’ she elected children and veterans as her platform. Healthy eating became her major concern, especially for the children in public schools. Not only did she talk the talk, she walked the walk by growing and eating fresh veggies in The White House Garden. Her “Let’s Move” campaign was epic, even getting celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres, Jimmy Fallon and her epic ad with NBA players from the Heat. She even affected girls on a global level.
What I greatly admire about her is her ability to take the cruel and senseless attacks on her character, looks and even her gender with a grain of salt. For a woman as statuesque as this woman to be called a man saddened me. Then when she was labeled the “Angry Black Woman” I had to laugh at the absurdity. If they want to see a real angry black woman, I can show them plenty of examples, but Michelle Obama is not one of them. Her motto “When they go low, we go high” is genius. I learned how to conduct myself when faced with adversity. Now I won’t lie, I am still working on this lesson, but I have FLOTUS as a reference and I will utilize her examples to the hilt.
On behalf of women everywhere, I would like to thank Mrs. Obama for all she has done for the American people during her reign. Ladies, if you remember nothing else from her time in office, please remember her words, “You are competent and capable…. The measure of any society is how it treats its women and girls.” During her final speech as the First Lady, Michelle hoped that she did us proud as our first lady. Well, let me simply say, job well done ma’am. Job well done!