Two of my favorite female artists are Rihanna and Beyonce. Besides the number of hits each of these ladies have released over the last few years, I’ve always admired their ability to not only embrace being a black woman, but also being a sexually liberated black woman. We’re living during a time where women’s empowerment and feminism is at an all-time high, especially with pop culture. But before there was Rih Rih and Bey, there was platinum selling artist, Adina Howard. Back in the nineties, Ms. Howard was a rarity amongst her peers. A woman that was unapologetically sexy while embracing her sexuality through her music and image. Though she has seen plenty of success, that didn’t stop her critics and their disapproval of her willingness to let it all hang out. With the chart-topping anthems “Freak Like Me” and “T-shirt and Panties”, Ms. Howard didn’t hold back when it came to being exactly who she is. Her motto – if a man can do it, so can she. Fast forward to 2018, Adina continues to push the envelope while inspiring other women to express themselves freely.
It’s safe to say that over the last couple of years, we’ve seen a reawakening of the liberated woman. Can you believe that once upon a time, women couldn’t vote, or get a job without their husband’s consent?! Boy have times changed (thank goodness!). Today, women everywhere are working every day closing those gender gaps and breaking through glass ceilings, reclaiming their independence, owning their femininity, doing things their way and commanding the respect they deserve. That’s pretty damn empowering right? On the other hand, sexual assault and misconduct scandals are the latest media goldmine. We have a President that has been on record, bragging about grouping women in unwanted ways. Movie directors facing rape charges and way too many other stories to count. It seems like every other week; more stories are dropping of women stepping forward with accusations of sexual harassment or misconduct. Most recently, Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman has fallen under fire for his misplaced comments andhumor. I’m not here to play judge and jury, but I have to wonder – is this all a coincidence or is it related?
Does being sexually liberated come with as a double-edged sword? With the wave of women’s liberation and as freeing and empowering as it can be, is the male ego becoming further bruised? It’s been proven that some men feel entitled to women and their bodies. In essence causing them to assert the control they “believe” they have. In addition to that, people are so quick to blame women who are actual victims. They get blamed for dressing too sexy, being too flirtatious, or just being too damn nice! It’s a crock of bull if you ask me! We as women should be able to dress, talk, and look however the hell we want. That doesn’t give anyone justification to be disrespectful or downright creepy.
I think we can all agree that there’s this little thing called CONSENT that plays a huge factor in all of these sexual misconduct situations. You have the power of consent and to set your own personal boundaries. Unfortunately, some folks have a hard time recognizing and understanding this fact, often approaching women with the misconstrued idea that their unwanted or inappropriate sexual advances are welcome and becoming upset when they’re dismissed. And this, my friends, is where the trouble arises. So how can we as women, express ourselves and our sexuality outwardly, comfortably and safely?
Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to fix this problem. However, I believe that we can all learn a thing or two from Adina Howard. Although she’s busy promoting her new album, “Resurrection” (released March 2018), she has no plans on slowing down. Because being a sexually liberated woman is only of the many layers that makes her as special as she is – a singer, songwriter, actress, chef, wife and the list goes on and on. The lesson here is to own who you are, embrace it and BE it. You can’t let a few sour apples or critics make you feel bad. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries and call people out if they cross them. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to speak up. You have a voice – USE IT. Whether it’s to help others, educate them, or report someone that’s being inappropriate. The moral of the story is, the power is yours…