ThaWilsonBlock Magazine Issue72

How Black Women And Latinas Have Reshaped Pop Music



As part of Turning the Tables, NPR Music compiled a list of 200 greatest songs by women and non-binary artists in the 21st Century.

As the list took shape, it became impossible not to notice that the songs in this canon share a common backbone. Many of the songs, and more namely the song's creators, owe their catchy, joyous, triumphant, sexy, strong, aching, resilient ethos to black, Latin and Afro Caribbean musical roots. From streaming to radio, the influence of Latin, Caribbean and R&B music is apparent across all modern genres in the new millennium.

To untangle this common thread, NPR Music's Stefanie Fernández and Sidney Madden charted the work of women of color on this list and examined the ways agency and identity have become central in breaking down pop music's barriers.

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