With rare exceptions like Leslie Gore’s 60s classic You Don’t Own Me, female artists traditionally weaved tales of woe and heartbreak, of sitting by the phone waiting for ‘him’ to call. As social norms changed for women, so did their music. In the 80s, songstresses discovered the power of their sexuality which effectively turned the tables. They then boldly sang of him waiting by the phone for her, of breaking HIS heart because her options for love and romance and sex were not limited to just one guy. As superficial as this ‘I’m powerful because I’m hot’ theme was, it was a vast improvement over the doormat image portrayed by the previous generation of female pop stars. The only problem was it wasn’t real inclusive. If you didn’t look like a supermodel, know how to wear your hair and makeup just right or strut seductively, you didn’t make the cut.
But now a second wave of feminism is present in female-driven pop music. It retains all of the confidence and swagger of the former but now addresses body image and body shaming. Consider Meghan Trainor’s All About That Bass which ridicule’s the use of Photoshop to make women more attractive: “We know that shit’s not real,” she sings. Lana Del Rey contributes to this theme with 2013’s Young and Beautiful featuring the haunting chorus that challenges the stigma associated with age and beauty in our culture with the lines, “Will you still love me / When I’m no longer young and beautiful?” Other’s include Beyonce’s Flawless and Mariah Carey’s Looking In.
Which brings me to new artist (or new to me) Levantay and her uptempo dancehall pop single beYOUtiful. She sings about the uniqueness of every woman in body, mind and spirit despite magazines wanting us all to be the same. This is an important message, especially for young girls.
“I recorded this song years ago as a message to my niece who was being told by the mean kids at school that she wasn’t beautiful,” Levantay explains. “It broke my heart to see her this way so I decided to write a song that would empower her.”
Whether you tall, short, fat, slim yellow or brown…Love yourself first… Spread your wings, Dare to be different, celebrate yourself.
“The lyrics remind me being beautiful means living my truth. It means stepping out of the boxes others create and bravely charting my own path.”
With a style described as an eclectic mash up of Dancehall, Reggae, Funk, Disco and Pop, LeVanTay is from beautiful and sultry Jamaica She’s made quite the inroad on the explosive Caribbean International scene opening stages for Dancehall and Reggae international legends Beres Hammond, Marcia Griffiths and Beenie Man to name a few.
Levantay says of herself, “I am truly first and foremost a poet who sings. I create the melodies that make people feel good, and once they are into the groove, at the same time the lyrics make them think. I think that’s the epitome of my gift and a perfect balance if you could ever strike one.”
Listen below, get into the groove and think about yourself.