Outstanding Women in Music

Oustanding Women in Music

Singer Ne-Yo may have made the last two years the year of the gentleman, but 2010 was the year of the woman. Whether making waves as singers, producers, writers, DJ’s, or record company executives, it was the ladies who held it down this time around.There wouldn’t be much for us to talk about in music this year if it weren’t for the work and talent of Black women who thought out of the box, broke records, balanced families, set trends and won awards.Take a look at the Black women in music whose accomplishments and major moves in the last 12 months have us all saying “You Go Girl!”

Whitney Houston

Though Houston released her comeback album in 2009, she enjoyed the fruits of her labor in 2010 by going on tour and winning several awards here and abroad. Earlier this year, Jennifer Hudson and Kim Burrell honored Houston at the BET Honors.


‘Tasia’s year hasn’t been an easy one, but after her failed suicide attempt, the Carolina girl got back on her feet and back on the road to promote her third album, “Back to Me.” The album, deemed one of her best, has been nominated for two 2011 Grammy Awards.

Janelle Monae

This year it felt like Janelle Monae finally got the shine she deserves. The eccentric singer performed a soulful tribute to Prince at the 2010 BET Awards and his Purple Highness would later ask her to go on tour with him. This girl’s got moves.


On her grind for the last 20 years, Beyonce has reached levels with her artistry that have even superseded her husband, Jay-Z. After picking up the six Grammy’s (the most ever won by a female in one night) and going double platinum with her “I Am…Sasha Fierce” tour DVD, Beyonce proves over and over music wouldn’t be the same without her.


DJ Solange rocked hard on the turntables this year. Spinning everywhere from Brooklyn to Miami Beyonce’s little sister continues to make her own unique mark in music.


Sade has had one of the most successful comebacks of 2010, selling some 502,000 copies of her album, “Soldier of Love” in the first week. In 2010 real R&B made a comeback in a major way, and we would be remiss not to thank Sade for the music she gave us.

Diana Ross

The Boss was back on the road this year, garnering rave reviews and selling out performances across the country.


Monicahas faced trials and tribulations but in 2010 she has come out triumphant. The singer successfully released her album “Still Standing,” had a television show by the same name, and hit after hit showed the music industry she will never be a “has been.”

Erykah Badu

Erykah’s greatness in music comes from her individuality and state of mind. After she took it all off for her video, “Window Seat,” Badu had everyone discussing nudity and the conceptof “groupthink,” an example of how great music is able to change culture.

Amber Riley

Star of the hit television musical show “Glee,” Amber Riley has had amazing year. Proving that success is the greatest revenge, the former “American Idol” reject and her castmates were nominated for 19 Emmy’s and even got to perform at the White House.

Faith Evans

This year Evans released her sixth album, “Something About Faith” and started her own independent record label. Her first single, “Gone” already was nominated for a 2011 Grammy. Go Faye!


The former X-Scape singer didn’t let minor record company setbacks get in the way of her releasing an album in 2010. She also started her own record label, Kandi Koated Entertainment, and her own webshow on Ustream called “Kandi Koated Nights.”

Mary J. Blige

This year MJB went on a world tour and still had time to make some of the more memorable guest appearances of the year — including Drake’s “Fancy.” Billboard also named her the most successful female R&B/Hip Hop Artist on its Top 50 R&B/Hip Hop Artists of the Past 25 Years list. The Yonkers native also launched her own line of sunglasses and her first perfume, called “My Life.” What a year!


Bold and beautiful is how Rihanna could describe her year. Happy in a new relationship with baseball player Matt Kemp, the fun Rihanna we know came back on her latest album, “Loud,” which garnered her two mega-hits. Her collaboration with rapper Eminem also earned her two Grammy nominations.

Jazmine Sullivan

Named the 2010 rising star at Billboard’s Women in Music Awards, Jazmine Sullivan remains this year’s most underrated stars. Sullivan has a voice that puts many R&B girls to shame, and her latest album, “Love Me Back," is already #5 on the Hip Hop/R&B charts. We looking forward to seeing this Philly girl’s star shining even brighter in 2011.

Keri Hilson

This year Hilson was more visible than ever. From performing at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade to being declared a VH1 Diva for the “Divas Live” concert. She also wasn’t afraid to show us her sexy self on songs like “The Way You Love Me.”

Nicki Minaj

With a least four alter egos, 50 or so wigs, two record breaking stats (most Billboard Top 100 Songs in a year by a female rapper and first single by a female rapper to top the Rap Songs category in over seven years), too many magazine covers to count, and a debut CD thatreach #2 on the charts, this year was all Nicki everything.

Janet Jackson

A featured artist at Essence Music Festival, Jackson also completed two films this year. With the announcement of her 2011 world tour extravaganza, Janet still remains a force to be reckoned with.


After making a name for herself as a YouTube sensation, Dondria was signed by Jermaine Dupri and released the album “Dondria vs. Phatfffat” to much fanfare. She later went on tour with Monica and Trey Songz. Let’s hope this rising star continues to do what she does best, sing her way to the top.

Alicia Keys

This year Alicia Keys showed women how to stay on their grind no matter what. Pregnant for most of 2010, the Grammy-winning singer never stopped working. Whether she was on top of piano giving her rendition of Prince’s “Amore” at the BET Awards, or fundraising for HIV/AIDS, Alicia Keys balanced real life with the music industry, and made it look so effortless.

Willow Smith

Whether you’re 13 or 31 chances are you’ve heard Willow Smith’s debut hit, “Whip My Hair,” and either secretly or openly whipped our hair-back and forth. Only 10 years old, she holds the title for the youngest woman on our outstanding Black women in music list for the year.

Angela Hunte & Janet Sewell Ulepic

Little did New York songwriters Angela Hunte and Janet Sewell Ulepic (right) know that a song they penned about missing home would go on to be one of the year’s biggest hits. The dynamic duo co-wrote “Empire State of Mind,” which Jay-Z and Alicia Keys took to new heights. The Brooklyn natives have also written for Diddy and Britney Spears.

Sylvia Rhone

Talk about being the mack in the back. For 36 years Sylvia Rhone has been the woman behind much of the success at Elecktra, Atlantic and Universal Records.Now as President of Universal Motown Records and executive VP of Universal Records, Rhone used 2010 to create revenue with artists like Drake, Taylor Swift, Lil Wayne, and Nicki Minaj — that’s unheard of in the music business today.

Makeba Riddick

Makeba Riddick aka “The Golden Girl” is the woman who pimps the pen for our favorite divas. Beyonce, JLo, Diddy, Rihanna, and Mariah all go to Riddick for her songwriting skills. This year alone Riddick is the creative force behind Rihanna’s “Rude Boy,” andEminmem’s “Love the Way You Lie,” two songs that have reached #1 on the Billboard charts, and earned Grammy nods.

Shanti Das

Last year the former Executive atUniversal Motown Records started the company PressReset.me, and this year functions as the co-founder for thelive music showcase, ATL LIVE on the Park that gives both unsigned and signed artists a chance to shine. Das also wrote,”The Hip-Hop Professional:A Woman’s Guide to Climbing the Ladder of Success in the Entertainment Business,” which chronicles her 20-year career in the music industry.

June Ambrose

Stylist to the stars June Ambrose has dressed some of the biggest talents of the hip hop generation. This year her impeccable dress sense had clients like Jay-Z and Chrisette Michele looking their absolute best. To boot, the sassy mom of two signed on for her own reality show on VH1.

Beverly Bond

Not only has DJ Beverly Bond been behind the wheels of steel, she’s also the mastermind behind the Black Girls Rock! Awards to honor outstanding Black women in music and community advocacy. It’s about time for Bond to get her own shine.

Laurieann Gibson

The choreographer made famous from working on Diddy’s “Making the Band” and her signature boom-boom-kat style of teaching, has made waves this year. Working as creative director of two of today’s biggest stars Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj, Laurieann Gibson is a major force behind the scenes.

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