For the Women of Pop Music, Cash Is Queen | Modern Society of USA

For the Women of Pop Music, Cash Is Queen

For the Women of Pop Music, Cash Is Queen

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“I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it.”
— Ariana Grande, in her song “7 Rings”


Bills flying. Backsides shaking. Drinks flowing. And hardly a man in sight.

For as long as there have been music videos, there have been male artists flaunting their riches with zero subtlety and surrounding themselves with gyrating, nearly naked women.

But in the past few weeks, two of the world’s most powerful pop stars — women — have reimagined the played-out concept by keeping the outrageous displays of wealth and women’s bodies, but cutting men out of the picture, literally.

“I don’t mean to brag, but I be like, ‘Put it in the bag,’” sings Grande, 25, about reaching a level of success that allows her to buy whatever she wants.

The messages Grande and Cardi B are sending — these recent music videos have about 140 million and 45 million views on YouTube — may feel new and particularly relevant in this era, but music has a storied history of female artists flexing their independence and money, Powers said.

In the 1920s, the blues artists Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey sang about having money of their own and being supported by other women. (Rainey’s nickname was “the gold-neck woman” because she piled on gold jewelry.) Then there were Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin, Dolly Parton, Annie Lennox and Madonna, among others, who have been forces of women’s empowerment in pop music.

More recently, we have Beyoncé and Rihanna leading the feminist charge in pop by celebrating other women and being unapologetic about their success and their sexuality.

Despite all that, the music business remains male-dominated, Powers said. But these women — and more of them — are increasingly saying, “‘O.K., we’re going to do it for ourselves.’”

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