In celebration of Black History Month, Essence magazine has compiled its list of "25 Albums Every Black Woman Should Own." According to Essence, "To get a Black woman's attention, an artist better put their all into a song and sing about our struggles, our triumphs, our pain, and our immeasurable joy." And based on that philosophy, Mary J. Blige is among the artists who make the cut.
Mary's My Life album is #1 in Essence's round-up. "Filled with angst and lovesick laments, Blige is painfully honest in expressing her sadness (she wrote all the lyrics) over a relationship gone sour. A must-have for any woman needing to get 'real' with herself," Essence writes.
Next up is Lauryn Hill's The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, the singer's one and only studio album as a solo artist. The disc gave Ms. Hill ten nominations at the 41st Grammy Awards in 1999, and she walked away with five wins.
The Waiting to Exhale soundtrack is third on Essence's list. Thanks to recordings like Mary's "Not Gon' Cry" and Whitney Houston's "Why Does It Hurt So Bad" and "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)," Essence considers the album to be "the musical equivalent to a breakup survival guide."
As for #4, that's India.Arie's Acoustic Soul, which is "packed with one musical tribute to self-love after another," according to Essence. Fifth on the list is Nina Simone's "I Put a Spell on You." "Those American Idol kids cover Michael Buble’s version of 'Feeling Good,' but most of us know that it was Nina Simone who really threw it down on this 1965 album," Essence writes.
Janet Jackson declared her independence on her album Control, which is listed at #6 on the magazine's list. Alicia Keys' The Diary of Alicia Keys is #7, Stevie Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life is #8, while Erykah Badu's Mama's Gun is #9. And rounding out the top 10 is Aretha Franklin's 1967 album, I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You. The album spawned some serious classics, including "Respect" and "Do Right Woman, Do Right Man."
Here's what else made Essence's list of "25 Albums Every Black Woman Should Own":
11. Sade's Best of Sade
12. Whitney Houston's Whitney Houston
13. Toni Braxton's Toni Braxton
14. Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite
15. Marvin Gaye's Here, My Dear
16. Mariah Carey's MTV Unplugged
17. Jill Scott's Beautifully Human Vol. 2
18. Adele's 21
19. TLC's Ooooooohhh on the TLC Tip
20. Jazmine Sullivans, Fearless
21. Janelle Monae's The ArchAndroid
22. Chaka Khan's Epiphany: The Best of Chaka Khan, Vol. 1
23. Beyonce's I Am…Sasha Fierce
24. Anita Baker's Rapture
25. Queen Latifah's All Hail the Queen
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