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black. lady. dangerous.
recognizing the force behind the dance/house music of the 80s and early 90s
jennifer holliday. [click picture to listen.]
[song] no frills love
[artist] jennifer holliday
[album] say you love me
[year] 1985
[note] this song is a dance classic.  the photo is linked to the disconet edit.  holliday was on this season’s american idol finale singing with jessica sanchez, the runner-up on may 23rd.  also, the photo used is how holliday looked during the 80s…she’s changed quite a bit since then.

jennifer holliday. [click picture to listen.]

[song] no frills love

[artist] jennifer holliday

[album] say you love me

[year] 1985

[note] this song is a dance classic.  the photo is linked to the disconet edit.  holliday was on this season’s american idol finale singing with jessica sanchez, the runner-up on may 23rd.  also, the photo used is how holliday looked during the 80s…she’s changed quite a bit since then.

WELCOME, NEW FOLLOWERS! : ) : )

and a very special welcome to invisiblelad and vivamsmolly!  you two are true tumblr friends!  : )

lynn malsby, joyce “fenderella” irby, cheryl cooley, lorena “lungs” stewart, bernadette cooper, and robbin grider. [click picture to listen.]
[song] the men all pause
[artist] klymaxx
[album] meeting in the ladies room
[year] 1984
[note] can i just say that klymaxx was one of the FIRST all-female bands of ANY genre?!  how absolutely BADASS is that?  it’s a bit difficult to tell, but i believe nearly all of the members of klymaxx were black women (lynn malsby appears to be white).  it took me a while to match the names to faces, lol.  the lineup was as follows: keyboardists malsby and grider, guitarist cooley, bassist/vocalist irby, vocalist stewart, and drummer/vocalist cooper.  i can’t get over how sincerely awesome these women were. AND STYLE FOR DAYS, TOO!
[another note] joyce “fenderella” irby started her career as a member of george clinton’s p-funk crew, and has been in the music industry ever since (she signed r&b singer lloyd as an 11 year old, and has been his guide throughout his career). 

lynn malsby, joyce “fenderella” irby, cheryl cooley, lorena “lungs” stewart, bernadette cooper, and robbin grider. [click picture to listen.]

[song] the men all pause

[artist] klymaxx

[album] meeting in the ladies room

[year] 1984

[note] can i just say that klymaxx was one of the FIRST all-female bands of ANY genre?!  how absolutely BADASS is that?  it’s a bit difficult to tell, but i believe nearly all of the members of klymaxx were black women (lynn malsby appears to be white).  it took me a while to match the names to faces, lol.  the lineup was as follows: keyboardists malsby and grider, guitarist cooley, bassist/vocalist irby, vocalist stewart, and drummer/vocalist cooper.  i can’t get over how sincerely awesome these women were. AND STYLE FOR DAYS, TOO!

[another note] joyce “fenderella” irby started her career as a member of george clinton’s p-funk crew, and has been in the music industry ever since (she signed r&b singer lloyd as an 11 year old, and has been his guide throughout his career). 

Pausing our regularly scheduled post to say two things:

REST IN PEACE, LaDONNA ADRIAN GAINES, better known as DONNA SUMMER.  She passed away on May 17th at the age of 63 after a battle with lung cancer, although she herself was a non-smoker.  A disco icon, she was featured here on bladyd back in September 2011.  Her death is a huge blow to old school music and all those who enjoyed it.  Here’s a playlist of top tracks from Donna Summer via YouTube, for your listening pleasure. 

It’s been a tough few years for legendary black singers of the 1970s and 1980s, Summer’s death comes barely three months after the untimely passing of Whitney Houston.  As someone who lives for these artists and this era of music, it’s almost like not only are the artists themeselves slipping away, but also, as importantly, their music from American and international consciousness.  Those who grew up with this music are getting older and older, and for younger people, like me, we usually are exposed to this music either thru those older people in our lives, or just by chance.  We hear a hell of a lot of sampling, but people growing up in nowadays have little understanding of the roots of the music they hear today.  I’ve said this before, but this is part of the reason why I created this blog - as a means of maintaining that connection to our music history, particularly black women’s music history.  This blog hasn’t really gained even a little of a following - a HUGE shoutout to the few followers I do have; you’re so appreciated - which I don’t mind.  It’s  here as a record, as a resource for those who want it, with my little notes scattered in between.  

This is all to say that I feel Donna Summer’s loss more profoundly…it’s like losing more than just her, which is awful enough.  So, again, REST IN PEACE, Donna Summer.    

Secondly, on a much happier note, I wanted to take a moment to wish another bladyd, my personal idol, GRACE JONES, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!  She turned 64 two days ago on May 19th, and continues to remain the oft-imitated, but irreplaceable and never bested music, fashion, and personality icon.  WE LOVE YOU, GRACE!  Here’s wishing her many more years!

Now, for a new post!

grace jones [click picture to listen.]
[song] my jamaican guy
[artist] grace jones
[album] living my life
[year] 1982
[note] grace jones is my idol.  i want her, i want to be her, i love her, and i love everything she does.  she is king.
[another note] this song reached the charts only in the UK and New Zealand.  but i don’t care because it’s grace jones and the beat is raw.  furthermore, it’s been sampled multiple times, most popularly, by ll cool j in his song “doin it" (1995).  by the way, the youtube video’s sound quality is pretty crap, but it’s the original music video and has deeper bass in it than other versions posted. ALSO: in the video, at first (and second) glances, it looks like Jones and a young man are featured in the video.  The male-looking person is actually Grace as well!  So just sit with that for a moment, and reckon with the versatility of her look and presentation, and how natural her fluidity was.  Amazing. 

grace jones [click picture to listen.]

[song] my jamaican guy

[artist] grace jones

[album] living my life

[year] 1982

[note] grace jones is my idol.  i want her, i want to be her, i love her, and i love everything she does.  she is king.

[another note] this song reached the charts only in the UK and New Zealand.  but i don’t care because it’s grace jones and the beat is raw.  furthermore, it’s been sampled multiple times, most popularly, by ll cool j in his song “doin it" (1995).  by the way, the youtube video’s sound quality is pretty crap, but it’s the original music video and has deeper bass in it than other versions posted. ALSO: in the video, at first (and second) glances, it looks like Jones and a young man are featured in the video.  The male-looking person is actually Grace as well!  So just sit with that for a moment, and reckon with the versatility of her look and presentation, and how natural her fluidity was.  Amazing. 

cherrelle. [click picture to listen.]
[song] saturday love (feat. alexander o’neal)
[artist] cherrelle
[album] high priority
[year] 1985
[note] this song was a bonafide hit, reaching #26 on the billboard hot 100 charts, #2 on the billboard us r&b charts, #13 on the us dance charts, and #6 on the UK singles charts.

cherrelle. [click picture to listen.]

[song] saturday love (feat. alexander o’neal)

[artist] cherrelle

[album] high priority

[year] 1985

[note] this song was a bonafide hit, reaching #26 on the billboard hot 100 charts, #2 on the billboard us r&b charts, #13 on the us dance charts, and #6 on the UK singles charts.

sheila e. [click picture to listen.]
[song] the glamorous life
[artist] sheila e
[year] 1984
[album] the glamorous life
[notes] if you don’t know who sheila e. is, you’re losing.  a long time collaborator with the music icon and legend, prince, sheila e. was his percussionist for a good amount of time and also had a pretty sucessful career as a solo artist.  the glamorous life is probably her best known song, but she also sang the song “a love bizarre" with prince, which is a GREAT song…and the live performance (linked) was out of this world.

sheila e. [click picture to listen.]

[song] the glamorous life

[artist] sheila e

[year] 1984

[album] the glamorous life

[notes] if you don’t know who sheila e. is, you’re losing.  a long time collaborator with the music icon and legend, prince, sheila e. was his percussionist for a good amount of time and also had a pretty sucessful career as a solo artist.  the glamorous life is probably her best known song, but she also sang the song “a love bizarre" with prince, which is a GREAT song…and the live performance (linked) was out of this world.

en vogue. [click picture to listen.]
[song] my lovin’ (you’re never gonna get it)
[artist] en vogue
[year] 1992
[album] funky divas
[note] man, i can’t believe i’m only putting en vogue here now.  in the photo, members (L to R) are as follows: cindy heron braggs, dawn robinson, maxine jones, and terry ellis - i think.  and just in case you need more evidence of how talented these four, beautiful, bladyds are, here’s a video of them singing “free your mind" LIVE in 1992.  no autotune necessary.

en vogue. [click picture to listen.]

[song] my lovin’ (you’re never gonna get it)

[artist] en vogue

[year] 1992

[album] funky divas

[note] man, i can’t believe i’m only putting en vogue here now.  in the photo, members (L to R) are as follows: cindy heron braggs, dawn robinson, maxine jones, and terry ellis - i think.  and just in case you need more evidence of how talented these four, beautiful, bladyds are, here’s a video of them singing “free your mind" LIVE in 1992.  no autotune necessary.

irene cara [click picture to listen.]
[song] flashdance…what a feeling
[artist] irene cara
[album] 1983
[year] what a feelin’
[notes] cara was in the movie fame.  so she wins.  

irene cara [click picture to listen.]

[song] flashdance…what a feeling

[artist] irene cara

[album] 1983

[year] what a feelin’

[notes] cara was in the movie fame.  so she wins.  

And there it is.  That was so tough.  I definitely shed a tear or two while doing this.  As I was listening to her voice, I kept thinking: “she’s gone, she’s gone, she’s gone.”  Unbelievable.  
It was so hard choosing only five Whitney singles, so here’s a list of some greats with a link to the music itself (there is an * by some of my personal favorites): 
Saving All My Love for You (1985)
How Will I Know (1985)*
Greatest Love of All (1986)
I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me) (1987)*
Didn’t We Almost Have It All (1987)
So Emotional (1987)*
I'm Your Baby Tonight (1990)*
All the Man That I Need (1990)
I Will Always Love You (1992)*
I’m Every Woman (1993)*
I Have Nothing (1993)*
Queen of the Night (1993)*
Exhale (Shoop Shoop) (1995)
Step by Step (1997)*
When You Believe (with Mariah Carey) (1998)*
Heartbreak Hotel (with Faith Evans and Kelly Price) (1999)*
It’s Not Right but It’s Okay (1999)*
My Love is Your Love (1999)*
Look at that list.  Whitney Houston, one of the greatest artists of all time, REST IN PEACE.

And there it is.  That was so tough.  I definitely shed a tear or two while doing this.  As I was listening to her voice, I kept thinking: “she’s gone, she’s gone, she’s gone.”  Unbelievable.  

It was so hard choosing only five Whitney singles, so here’s a list of some greats with a link to the music itself (there is an * by some of my personal favorites): 

Saving All My Love for You (1985)

How Will I Know (1985)*

Greatest Love of All (1986)

I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me) (1987)*

Didn’t We Almost Have It All (1987)

So Emotional (1987)*

I'm Your Baby Tonight (1990)*

All the Man That I Need (1990)

I Will Always Love You (1992)*

I’m Every Woman (1993)*

I Have Nothing (1993)*

Queen of the Night (1993)*

Exhale (Shoop Shoop) (1995)

Step by Step (1997)*

When You Believe (with Mariah Carey) (1998)*

Heartbreak Hotel (with Faith Evans and Kelly Price) (1999)*

It’s Not Right but It’s Okay (1999)*

My Love is Your Love (1999)*

Look at that list.  Whitney Houston, one of the greatest artists of all time, REST IN PEACE.

TOP 5 WHITNEY HOUSTON SINGLES - #1 - I HAVE NOTHING

[song] i have nothing

[artist] whitney houston

[album] the bodyguard: original soundtrack album

[year] 1993

[note] what a soundtrack, right?  this a beautiful song, with an amazing build-up.  it showcases whitney’s phenomenal vocal range and abilities, and has her talk about her favorite subject of all - love.  whether or not you agree my ranking, it’s pretty much fact that this is one of her best songs ever.  enjoy.

TOP 5 WHITNEY HOUSTON SINGLES - #2 - HOW WILL I KNOW

[song] how will i know

[artist] whitney houston

[album] whitney houston

[year] 1985

[note] what list would be complete without one of whitney’s earliest hits?  i know most people like i wanna dance with somebody better, but I LOVE THIS SONG.  and i ADORE the junior vasquez mix on the album, whitney: the unreleased mixes, too.  and if you need any proof about her vocal ability, just listen to the isolated vocal track of this song.

TOP 5 WHITNEY HOUSTON SINGLES - #3 - I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU

[song] i will always love you

[artist] whitney houston

[album] the bodyguard: original soundtrack album

[year] 1992

[note] self-explanatory.  this is arguably whitney’s greatest hit, even thought it’s not my personal favorite.  i mean she absolutely KILLS this song.  and then when she sang it live at the Grammys in 1994?  (not sure how long that video will be up, you know it goes.)  LAWD. 

TOP 5 WHITNEY HOUSTON SINGLES - #4 - IT’S NOT RIGHT BUT IT’S OK

[song] it’s not right but it’s ok (thunderpuss remix)

[artist] whitney houston

[album] my love is your love

[year] 1999

[note] this song, along with my love is your love, basically marked the end of whitney’s era.  after this, she didn’t put out many more hits, and her personal life overshadowed her musical endeavors.  i love both the original and this thunderpuss mix of the song.  she looks amazing, always with her special way of drawing her you into her music videos.  and the message.  oh the message.  whitney had this uncanny way of balancing power, independence, and vulnerability (usually expressed through love).  love it.

TOP 5 WHITNEY HOUSTON SINGLES - #5 - I’M EVERY WOMAN

[song] i’m every woman

[artist] whitney houston

[album] the bodyguard: original soundtrack album

[year] 1992

[note] this song is #5 mainly due to the video, which i think is one of whitney’s best.  there is so much to love about it - a wonderful song, beautiful black women and girls dancing to a song with a great, empowering message; super pregnant whitney looking absolutely radiant and as if she’s having the most fun ever; cameo appearances by TLC, chaka khan, valerie simpson, and whitney’s mother, cissy houston…I mean the list goes on.  so much amazing in this, especially for black women.