Music can uplift the heart and become a catch fire battle cry for advancing a cause or a movement. When that happens, the song transforms from an airwaves hit to an anthem.
Aretha Franklin, Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande have all put out hits that have reached the anthem status for girl empowerment:
Aretha Franklin: A trailblazer for Taylor and Ariana. She took Otis Redding's iconic 1965 recording of "Respect" and infused it with feminist sensibilities in her 1967 recording that became emblematic of the feminist and civil rights movements at the time. Her version of the song was revolutionary and a precursor to the #MeToo movement. Her genius lay in never labeling herself as a feminist. She was able to very subtly but significantly push back against inequality and patriarchy. In her own words from her autobiography she says:
"So many people identified with and related to "Respect". It was the need of a nation, the need of the average man and woman in the street, the businessman, the mother, the fireman, the teacher - everyone wanted respect."
The relevance of her anthem endures today. We are living in a climate of disrespect, particularly in politics where it trumpets down from the top.
Taylor Swift: Her latest album, "Reputation", is a breaking out of her reputation to a newer, bolder, stronger Swift who seems to have swiftly shaken off her haters with empowered self-confidence and self-respect that she owns and inspires in others. The album opens with the song "Ready for It?" which one Tumblr fan theory suggests:
"Illuminates how media/society have so tirelessly tried to absolutely sabotage Taylor Swift's soul, ravage her kind disposition and quite overtly vandalise her reputation."
Taylor Swift deserves our respect. She is a pop culture storyteller who speaks to the times and relates to it on a personal level. Let the haters go back to the woods. Taylor is kind and real. Her songs empower angels around the world to be authentic and strong, to rise above the critics and trolls who just want to "hate, hate, hate". We love that.
Ariana Grande: There are so many references in Ariana Grande's new track "God is a Woman" that you can spend countless hours creating theories on what they all mean. Just turn up the volume and listen. As Joan Grande - a.k.a Ariana's mom - tweeted in support of her daughter's lyrical message that God, is, in fact, a woman:
"We have earned and deserve respect, gratitude and equality...and YET, we fight for it STILL everyday...this song is an anthem, it should provide strength and power and uplifting!"
AMEN, soul sisters! Each one of you has our R-E-S-P-E-C-T