There are few female artists who have not been influenced by pop icon Janet Jackson, and Ciara is no exception. Besides the midriffs and long sun-kissed tresses, the baby-faced 20-year veteran’s impact paved the way for ATL’s original Crunk-n-B princess whose delicate vocals and complex choreography are a reflection of Jackson in her heyday.
“American Idol” alum Fantasia isn’t afraid to kick her shoes off and sing the heck out of a song at no cost, but Patti LaBelle has been belting out high notes barefoot and rolling around on stages before Ms. Barrino could even walk. Still, we appreciate the kinetic energy that both of these vocal powerhouses bring to the stage.
History has a funny way of repeating itself, so it’s no surprise that everything old is new again, including some of our favorite music icons. ESSENCE.com does a double take to check out those celebs who reinvented the wheel and those have been influenced by their originality.
Beyoncé invokes the spirit of Tina Turner with her hair-swinging, body-shimmering style. Turner’s high-powered dance moves were fierce enough to leave smoke on the stage and her commanding voice never missed a beat. The perfect combination is definitely a recipe for success.
Does a sassy pop girl group with big hair sound familiar? No, we’re not talking about Diddy’s protégée Danity Kane, but Rick James’s 1980’s background singers turned female quartet. If it weren’t for The Mary Jane Girls’ seductive girl power, Danity Kane wouldn’t have been able to pull off their provocative wardrobe and “wild and crazy” style. Alas, these ladies share one more thing in common: they’ve disbanded.
Santogold’s unapologetic fashion style and risk-taking career moves wouldn’t have been as permissible if it weren’t for trend-setting, groundbreaking, out-of-the-box thriller Missy Elliot. Both artists march to the beat of their own drum but the “Shake Your Pom Pom” lyricist definitely made “different” cool in the late nineties.
Exuding unmatched confidence ever since her “Caught Out There” debut, Kelis’s unconventional approach and style likely grabbed the attention of songwriter turned singer Keri Hilson. Like Kelis, Hilson doesn’t play by the rules, which allows her to remain in control.
When LL Cool J was rapping about his search for an around-the-way girl, Mary J. Blige and Keyshia Cole could have easily fit the bill. Both artists’ tough yet relatable demeanor helped give voice to local divas in every hood. The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul remained true to herself and fans while evolving at her own pace, and we’re witnessing Cole gradually come into her own with a more refined style and look.
Chalk it up to having the same hairstylist, but singer Michelle Williams ditched her cascading Rapunzel tendrils for a sleek look that rivaled Rihanna’s saucy, “good girl turned bad” persona. Let’s face it, long before the “Umbrella” singer went goth chic on us with a fierce short cut we called it the “Halle Berry” do before the “Rihanna.”
When a toned Ciara entered the music scene with smooth moves, tomboy fashions and whispery vocals, she couldn’t escape the comparisons to the late great Aaliyah.
Just as we watched Brandy grow from 12-year-old Danesha Turrell on “Thea” to a commendable platinum-selling artist with her own show (“Moesha”), we’ve got our eye on the lovely Keke Palmer, who ironically, signed to the same label home as Brandy and has an equally thriving acting career.