#MusicSermon & Netflix’s Strong Black Lead Celebrate LADIES FIRST: A STORY OF WOMEN IN HIP HOP

The SBLxSermon Challenge In August, Strong Black Lead and #MusicSermon partnered to celebrate Netflix’s Ladies First: A Story of Women in Hip-Hop with a special 7 day music challenge to highlight women in rap through the culture’s history.

Want advice about getting into the industry? Read this first.

I often get DMs from people asking some variation of “How do I get into the music industry?” While I try to offer some level of direction and insight where I’m able, I’ll be honest that a lot of these requests are lazy and inappropriate. I recognize that sometimes that’s simply because people don’t know the best way to go about shooting their professional shot. So gather ’round, because I’m going to share some tips on the right way to approach professionals in the entertainment industry. Believe me, the internet might make things seem super casual, but if you’re serious about seeking help getting into the game, a bit of research, strategy, and respect can go a long way.  

The Black Godfather is a Lesson About Relationships

Netflix’s Clarance Avant documentary is a captivating look at the life and impact of the music industry architect, but it’s also a testimony to the power of connection. the core of his power and influence lay in his relationships.


Yo! was the first national program showcasing hip-hop music and artists. For many, it was their introduction to hip-hop, as well as their sole source of hip-hop education. The show helped push the genre into the mainstream and spread globally. It was fertile ground for content that had never before been seen or done.

Soft & Warm…

10PM — 2AM USED TO BE LIT How many of y’all have memories of cakin’ on the phone with your little boyfriend/girlfriend while you listened to the Quiet Storm? How many of us fell asleep to slow jams for the majority of our formative years? Through every change in urban music and urban radio — new formats, satellite, streaming, conglomeration — TheContinue reading “Soft & Warm…”

Y’all Ready to Argue? It’s Bracket Time!

Long time #MusicSermon congregants know we do our own version of #MarchMadness over here – with music brackets, of course!

Since we’re running back content from the last five years of #MusicSermon, we’re revisiting the very first #MusicSermonMadness bracket – the 90s R&B Tourney. In fairness, I messed up the seeding the first time, so this year y’all get to do it (also, I don’t want y’all typing all hard at me in my mentions lol).

The Undersung Women of ’80s and ’90s R&B PT I

In 1990, singer Phyllis Hyman complained to Donnie Simpson during a BET Video Soul interview about record labels shifting their focus from talent to artist “packaging,” using production to supplement raw talent. “They’re picking up kids off the street, pretty much, and producers are producing these albums. These kids have literally no talent. But they look right. I’m telling you, get a girl, get the hair weave on, make her lose 30 pounds, (snaps) you’ve got a hit record. Can’t sing a lick!” In the shift from substance to style, which started gradually happening in music in the mid-’80s, Phyllis and other singers with big voices got shelved, dropped, or simply ignored in favor of younger, more pop-friendly and video-friendly acts – with arguably less ability. “(It) pisses me off. It makes me big time angry because I have spent so many years developing this talent,” Phyllis added. She wasn’t alone.

Millie Jackson: The Original Bad Girl

You know that auntie who you were nervous to bring your young male friends around back in the day because she might proposition them in the kitchen when nobody was looking? Or the auntie liable to cuss out a family member or two after dinner for something that happened 12 years ago? The one that women in your family whispered about, warning not to leave men around alone? Who your mama didn’t want you to spend too much time with, but you were always excited to see because she was entertaining and was gonna slip you a little pocket change?

That auntie listened to Millie Jackson.