Where Y'all Been?: 8 Black Women Artists We Need to Make a Comeback

by Raisa Habersham

The release of Jazmine Sullivan’s new album Reality Show has everyone in a tizzy on my Facebook Timeline. I have one friend who’s posting song lyrics, and another applying them to her life. I love the excitement that new and long-awaited music brings to the soul. It’s a communal thing for lovers of black entertainment that can’t be replicated. Sullivan’s highly anticipated release comes at a time when too few black female artists dominate the music scene. In the 90s, you couldn’t go anywhere without seeing Brandy, Mariah, or Whitney. We also had our fair share of girl groups, including TLC, Destiny’s Child, and En Vogue.

The early 2000s weren’t bad for us either. Tweet, Alicia Keys, Ashanti, Nivea and others were set to carry the torch their predecessors held. But it seems after 2005, many of these black female artists haven’t achieved the same sort of mainstream visibility they once enjoyed. What happened to our sistahs? Well, if you’ve been wondering, here are a few old favorites I’ve been keeping tabs on with hopes they come back, bringing new music along with them.

1. Tweet

Lately, she’s been on heavy rotation on my Spotify. Her debut album Southern Hummingbird was a solid neo-soul effort that was overlooked due to the airwave domination of India.Arie and Alicia Keys. We haven’t heard much musically from Tweet since her sophomore album It’s Me Again, which was another good cut. But in 2013, she did release the EP Simply Tweet and played to a sold out concert in London following its release. Here’s hoping for a full Tweet comeback in 2015.

2. Mya

I remember having “It’s All About Me” on repeat back in 1998 and being mesmerized by Mya’s dance moves, thinking, “Yep, she’s got it!” I’m sure plenty of others thought the same. Mya had a natural sexiness that oozed into her music and I loved that she didn’t shy away from it. While Mya hasn’t released a major album in a while, she dropped two EPs last year titled With Love and Sweet XVII, with the latter commemorating the release of her first single. It’s not clear as to whether or not Mya will release an album soon, but we’ll forever have her old school hits to groove to until then.

3. Tamia

Such an underrated vocalist in R&B, Tamia is a much missed singer. Her single “Stranger In My House” demonstrates her vocal prowess, while “Officially Missing You” highlights the love-provoked vulnerability most of us have felt. Since her 2012 Beautiful Surprise release, Tamia has signed with Def Jam and new music is expected this year. If we’re lucky, we may get tunes that are reminiscent of the the vocal beauty that is “Stranger In My House.”

4. Nivea

I owned Nivea’s first album and was in love with it! After too many moves, it’s long gone but not forgotten among many favorite records of mine. Her hit, “Don’t Mess With My Man,” was inescapable and since her last major single, 2004’s “Okay,” I’ve missed her since. These days, we can catch Nivea on the reality TV show circuit on Love and Hip Hop: Atlanta and she is working on her fourth album titled Nivea Revealed.

5. Sunshine Anderson

Who could forget the anthem Ms. Anderson delivered with 2002’s “Heard It All Before”? The track was reminiscent of a Mary J. Blige cut with lots of no-nonsense-taking bravado. Since her debut Your Woman, Sunshine has released two albums with her last one being The Sun Shines Again in 2010. Mum is the word on whether or not she’s releasing music anytime soon, but take a listen to the song some of us still can’t stop singing.

6. Deborah Cox

Like Tamia, Deborah Cox’s vocal capabilities are underrated, especially since substance isn’t valued as much as it once was. Cox recently provided the musical vocals for mentor-friend Whitney Houston’s songs in Lifetime’s Whitney biopic. Cox has also been on Broadway and was said to be working on a supergroup with Tamia and Kelly Price at one point. Since her 2008 release The Promise, we haven’t heard much from the singer on the original music front. Until we do, let’s remember why we fell in love with her voice in the first place.

7. LeToya Luckett

I’ve been waiting on a follow up to LeToya’s Lady Love for quite some time. It’s been six years and I’m starting to reach Janet levels of music-jonesing. I’ve been a fan of the singer since her Destiny’s Child days and couldn’t wait for her solo release. If LeToya was what I wanted, then Lady Love was what I needed. We’ve seen the songstress grace the silver screen in The Preacher’s Kid and VH1’s Single Ladies, but I needed a CD yesterday. I’ll just keep listening to her throwbacks to hold me over.

8. Janet

Yes, Miss Jackson. There has been talk about an album for a while now, but fans may have to just wait ‘til she’s ready. Janet Jackson’s last release, Discipline, was seven years ago, so this has been the longest time we’ve waited for a Janet album. While Ms. Jackson has taken her time in the past, fans are yearning for the drought to be lifted. There have been rumors of her working on new music, but we truly won’t know until the private celeb tells us herself. In the meantime, let’s enjoy an early Janet classic.

Raisa Habersham is a regular contributor at For Harriet.