"We have moved backward, with women in music allowing themselves to be presented as sexual objects again," says R&B recording artist Jaguar Wright, "and in more graphic and demeaning ways than eve

"We have moved backward, with women in music allowing themselves to be presented as sexual objects again," says R&B recording artist Jaguar Wright, "and in more graphic and demeaning ways than ever."

In a commentary that appears in the Aug. 6, 2005, issue of Billboard magazine (on newsstands now), Wright recalls the women she considered role models while growing up. Naming "Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin, Tina Turner, Patti LaBelle, Gladys Knight, Nina Simone" and others, she says, "these were the women I was drawn to. Women who possessed power, poise, uncommon beauty and brash attitudes."

Adding in a host of latter successful female artists, Wright asserts, "I'm not saying their sexuality wasn't part of their appeal -- because it obviously was. However, it was their talent that was paramount."

But she laments that that is no longer the case: "If they cannot see your beauty with your clothes on, what makes you think they will see it with your clothes off? Whatever happened to leaving something to the imagination?"

"What do we do now that they only want our bodies and not our souls?" Wright asks. "Now that they would rather see us on our knees in music videos than on our feet at live music venues?

"That's a question we will all have to answer, sooner rather than later," she says. "I just hope we care enough to make the right choices for the next generation of women who rock so they won't have to throw rocks at windows begging for someone to let them into a game they were born to play."

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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