This year for Black History Month, Billboard looks to salute Black women for their strength, resiliency, and courage. With Black female artists always being innovative and audacious with their art and platforms, especially during last year’s fight for racial equality, it was necessary to empower those with our stage this month. Every Monday and Wednesday for Black History Month, Billboard will dish out new playlists from Black women artists highlighting powerful messages.
After Summer Walker launched her “Power to the Women” playlist on Monday, up next is Atlantic Records signee and Billboard‘s 2021 Artist to Watch selection, Ayanis. The Southern artist has yet to hit pause on her fiery run, releasing a slew of singles with the likes of Wiz Khalifa, Queen Naija, Jack Harlow, and most recently, Mulatto for “Drip.” With lofty standards set for her career, Ayanis enlists her crew of female trailblazers who serve her inspirations, starring Beyonce, Rihanna, TLC and more.
“Black History Month honors the trailblazers and contributions we have made and are continuing to make,” she tells Billboard. “All of these beautiful Black queens inspire me. They inspire women to stand up for themselves and see their worth, power, and strength!”
Check out Ayanis’ “Strength in Numbers” playlist picks and her reasons why the songs continue to motivate her.
1. “Run the World (Girls),” Beyonce
“This song literally makes every women feel their power and fierceness! Who run the world?”
2. “Needed Me,” Rihanna
“You can find me listening to this once a week and screaming, ‘DIDN’T they tell you that I was a savage!’ I love this song because it’s an example you can’t fit us women in a box!”
3. “Bills, Bills, Bills,” Destiny’s Child
“OK! This a big bop! Women are demanding what we want, and not settling for less! This song applied back then and still applies today. Women are coming with their own, so men need to match it!”
4. “Just Fine,” Mary J. Blige
“This song gets me in a such an amazing mood! The production is so upbeat! And it will set the tone for a great day!”
5. “No Scrubs,” TLC
“This is a female anthem! So catchy! And a mantra that we don’t want no scrub! Come correct or not at all! Love this!”
6. “Doo Wop (That Thing),” Lauryn Hill
“‘Girl, you know you better watch out!’ My aunt played this in the car growing up, so subconsciously it was letting me know what these men can be about! We are worth more than just our goods! Get to know us!”
7. “Feeling Good,” Nina Simone
“Her voice is so rich and powerful! She always colored out the lines! I love that! Also the instrumentation on this song, is so triumphant!”
8. “Respect,” Aretha Franklin
“This song holds so much power! It’s a bold statement! It’s my favorite song to sing at karaoke!”
9. “Formation,” Beyoncé
“This song and this whole album Lemonade celebrated women! The lyrics are a powerful statement! The visual shows so many different hairstyles, fashions, [and] our culture! My family is from New Orleans, so I think of the visual attached to this song and it makes me even more proud to be where I come from!”
10. “I’m Coming Out, Diana Ross”
“This song is fun. It’ll make you wanna put on a fashion show in your living room! And it gives you the confidence to be exactly who you wanna be!”