Sunday, September 26th, 2021

Women In Music: Art vs. Business

In today’s monetized music business, women are pushing the envelope and shattering traditional glass ceilings that were once set in place to keep men on top. With so many women in the industry currently making moves both in front and behind the camera, it’s becoming more and more obvious that music may be the surest way to skip all the loop holes and go straight to the top in corporate America. But who gets taken advantage of now that the women are becoming the leaders?

One of the main discussions in the music industry today is the over-sexualization of women. From Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s racy “WAP” performance at this year’s Grammy Awards receiving FCC complaints to Rihanna and Beyonce respectively showing off their bare bodies to promote their clothing lines, there’s no doubt about it — sex in the music business is a thing.
I guess the real discussion might be, “Can you succeed in the music business while staying true to yourself?” Especially in today’s industry when it seems the female artists are often baring it all with hopes to become a household name. It actually still may be very possible. Ethiopia Habtemariam, a music executive who was recently promoted to Chairman & CEO of classic American imprint Motown Records is proof of this.

After joining Motown Records just seven years ago in 2014, Ethiopia Habtemariam rose through the ranks of corporate America while overseeing some of today’s most popular artists like Lil Baby, City Girls and Vince Staples. Habtemariam made it to to the tippy-top of the music industry where the bosses reside and she didn’t have to be overly sexual or twerk anything in front of a camera.

Then you have Mona Scott-Young, a Haitian-American television and music executive who is responsible for creating the popular reality television series ‘Love & Hip-Hop.’ The show has garnered a lot of attention over the years for perpetuating a bad image of hip-hop artists. Mona Scott-Young recently made the news for claiming that she gets way more criticism than her white male counterparts (ie Ryan Seacrest, Andy Cohen) due to the fact that she’s the only Black woman in her position. The interesting thing about Mona Scott Young’s story is her ‘Love & Hip-Hop’ show actually creates a platform for up-and-coming music artists to be seen. It was ‘Love & Hip-Hop’ that introduced Cardi B to the world right before the former Bronx-born stripper took the music industry by storm. So, can we be mad at Mona Scott-Young for the image that ‘Love & Hip-Hop’ portrays? Cardi B is undeniably one of the most successful hip-hop artists in history to date. Who knows if she would have reached this pinnacle without being featured on Mona Scott-Young’s show? It’s almost like a double-edged sword.
Success is success is success, right? It is but, it’s harder for the older generation of music lovers to accept this brand new world of sexually-driven music. Considering they are the ones who grew up watching Lauryn Hill perform with such grace. Lauryn Hill was and still is a beautifully talented artist who sold millions of albums and made a lot of money while keeping all her clothes on. She is a true gem in music culture. Whether behind the camera, in the office or on stage at The Grammys, women in music, both the artists and the executives are raising the bar for many generations to come. And with Beyonce becoming the most winning artist in Grammy history the bar is only getting higher and higher!

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