By Bonnie DeShong
Since the beginning of American history women of color have been strong leaders. Many enslaved Africans would not have made it to freedom if a Black woman had not led them. White women would not have had the right to vote if Black women did not march with them. Today America would not have a Vice President-Elect who is a woman of color if Shirley Chisholm or Barbara Jordan had not stood up and cracked that ceiling.
The one thing women of color have not done is pass that message of power to our young ladies so that there is a continuous understanding and respect of our strength and differences as a whole.
There is a new site called Women with A Message, https://www.udiscovermusic.com/UrbanLegends/ that bridges the generations through music, conversations, and ideas. It was created as a platform every month to advance Black and urban music.
When I first visited the site, I was blown away with how everything blended so well. The play list has everything from Nina Simone to City Girls and artists in between. Some of the artists I don’t have a clue who they are, but it gave me a chance to listen to them and their message, which is basically the same as my generation only with different words and tones.
Right after the Presidential election I spoke with Katina Bynum the Executive VP of East Coast Labels, Urban for Universal Music Enterprises and one of the creators of the theme and messaging of Women with a Message. I asked how she came up with the concept.
“We thought about Kamala and how important it is she’d been nominated, she being the first woman of color to be nominated for VP and we were thinking about other strong women in different fields and what they had to say. What is their message, how do they see the world now? We just didn’t want to be specific to music, we wanted to branch out. So, myself and my team which I’m so happy of how supportive they are and the work that they do. They went out and they found women that play athletics.
They also found activists and women that all have leading roles in the record industry which I thought would be really great to get ideas and so forth and look at the world through these women’s eyes and how aggressive they’re being and how supportive they’re being of each other.”
In visiting the site, I found myself opening and really listening to the opinions of the “younger generation.” You know the ones we baby boomers feel do not understand what we went through during the civil rights movement and beyond.
“I think that it’s a way to mix it up to introduce some of the young folk to older artists and what they had to say and also some of the older listeners to hear what the young people are talking about. So, I think it’s a really great mix to make people appreciate the different age groups, the different time of music and what people were saying.”
As I said earlier, Women with a Message is a bridge that can bring generations of women together.
Until next time, keep your EYE to the sky!