This May Interest You: My “Girl Power” Playlist

Every now and again everyone needs inspiration, something to give you a little extra pep in your step, fire to fight your fear and comfort when you’re down. Being someone with depression, I feel down quite often. Being a depressed, plus-sized, feminist woman of color, the state of the world, heck, the state of America—the politics, the race relations, the sexism, the socioeconomic gaps, etc.—has me feeling down basically all the time.

I feel like my identity doesn’t matter, which in turn means my opinion doesn’t matter because I hardly see anyone who looks or thinks like me represented in popular media, the outlet to which I turn to to escape despair. They tell us the wage gap is a myth and women need to stop complaining—it’s obviously a compliment when they praise us for our beauty and mothering or domestic skills but not our talents, intelligence or ideas. They tell us minorities are equal to the majority despite the lack of visibility/roles for Hispanics/Latinos, Asians, Indians, Native Americans and bi- and multiracial people. They tell us that just because women may have stretch marks or a double chin they’re just as valuable to society as women who don’t—oh wait, no, they don’t. And it all makes me feel like I don’t have a chance in hell of becoming a published author because no one is going to listen to a size-16, Black/White/Hispanic woman like me, and the depression deepens.

So. To where do I turn when I pull myself far enough out of the abyss to remember I need to start un-brainwashing myself from years of believing I’m inferior to men, to whites and to the physically fit and attractive? To the entertainment that does include and speak to people like me because people like me—people like usexist.  We have voices, and here are a few for every occasion, women and girls.

Some are sung by women, some by men, but the point is the same: they either apply to us or are straight-up for us and you know what? We have to be for us, too.

Fight Songs

  • “Buffy the Vampire Slayer Theme” by TV Tunesters
  • “Swing to Glory” from BtVS series finale “Chosen” by Daniel Jay Nielsen
  • “Salute” by Little Mix (the most-played song on my iPod; helps pump me up to write the most important idea for a book series I have ever had, one for minority girls, about minority girls, by a minority girl)
  • “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten (duh, lol)
  • “Stand By You” by Rachel Platten
  • “Forcefield” by Jax
  • “It’s On Again” by Alicia Keys feat. Kendrick Lamar
  • “Rise” by Katy Perry
  • “People Like Us” by Kelly Clarkson
  • “No More Drama” by Mary J. Blige
  • “I Know Where I’ve Been” by Queen Latifah
  • “One Girl Revolution” by Superchick
  • “Freedom” by Beyoncé
  • “Good Woman Down” by Mary J. Blige (as in “You can’t keep a…”)

Inspirational Songs

  • “Something Beautiful” by Tori Kelly
  • “Call Me Beep Me” by Banaroo (originally sung by Christina Milian, this is better known to the world as the theme song to Disney’s Kim Possible)
  • “Wings” by Little Mix (I have The Voice cover by Tess Boyer)
  • “Run the World (Girls)” by Beyoncé
  • “Can’t Hold Us Down” by Christina Aguilera
  • “Little Me” by Little Mix
  • “Invincible” by Kelly Clarkson
  • “Skyscraper” by Demi Lovato (I have The Voice cover by Brittnee Camelle)
  • “Girl On Fire” by Alicia Keys
  • “Roar” by Katy Perry
  • “Just Do You” by India.Arie
  • “Brave” by Sara Bareilles
  • “Mean” by Taylor Swift (I have The Voice cover by Danielle Bradbery)
  • “Don’t Hold Me Down” by Colbie Caillat
  • “Happy” by Leona Lewis
  • “Breakaway” by Kelly Clarkson
  • “Born To Fly” by Danielle Bradbery
  • “Beautiful Flower” by India.Arie
  • “Just the Way You Are” by Bruno Mars
  • “I Can See Clearly Now” by Johnny Nash (I have The Voice cover by Anita Antoinette and Mayra Alvarez)
  • “I Make My Own Sunshine” by Alyssa Bonagura
  • “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift
  • “Free Your Mind” by En Vogue
  • “Diamonds” by Rihanna
  • “Fly” by Nicki Minaj feat. Rihanna
  • “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus
  • “Almost There” by Anika Noni Rose (from Disney’s The Princess and the Frog)
  • “Control” by Janet Jackson
  • “Black Girl Magic” by Sierra McClain (from Empire)
  • “Respect” by Aretha Franklin
  • “Firework” by Katy Perry
  • “Unbreakable Smile” by Tori Kelly
  • “Spectrum” by Florence + The Machine
  • “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz (I have The Voice cover by Christina Grimmie)
  • “I’m With You” by Avril Lavigne
  • “Stand” by Rascal Flatts (I have The Voice cover by Cassadee Pope)
  • “Irreplaceable” by Madilyn Paige
  • “Titanium” by David Guetta & Sia (I also have The Voice cover by Madilyn Paige)
  • “Superwoman” by Alicia Keys
  • “Mama” by Jussie Smollett (from Empire)
  • “The Voice Within” by Christina Aguilera
  • “Sing for Me” by Christina Aguilera
  • “Fly” by Maddie & Tae (I have The Voice cover by Brennley Brown)
  • “Think Good Thoughts” by Colbie Caillat
  • “Gold” by Britt Nicole
  • “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield
  • “Ugly” by Christina Grimmie
  • “Not Fragile” by Christina Grimmie
  • “Most Girls” by Hailee Steinfeld
  • “Wait Til You See My Smile” by Alicia Keys
  • “Indestructible” by Mary J. Blige
  • “With Love” by Christina Grimmie
  • “Rise Up” by Andra Day

Self-Acceptance Songs

  • “Scars to Your Beautiful” by Alessia Cara (I have The Voice cover by Wé McDonald)
  • “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera
  • “One Step at a Time” by Jordin Sparks
  • “Dark Side” by Kelly Clarkson
  • “Video” by India.Arie
  • “I Am Light” by India.Arie
  • “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga
  • “F**kin’ Perfect” by P!nk
  • “Wild Things” by Alessia Cara
  • “Still Crazy After All These Years” by Paul Simon (I have The Voice cover by Emily Keener)
  • “Shake It Out” by Florence + The Machine
  • “Try” by Colbie Caillat
  • “Who Says” by Selena Gomez (a song that asks us to question who taught us we weren’t good enough because much like other forms of hate, self-hatred is usually learned)
  • “Secrets” by Mary Lambert
  • “Body Love Parts 1&2” by Mary Lambert (a spoken-word declaration, a revelation)
  • “Redneck Woman” by Gretchen Wilson
  • “It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World” by James Brown (I have The Voice cover by Juliet Simms)
  • “Unconditionally” by Katy Perry

Relationship and/or Breakup Songs

  • “You Don’t Own Me” by Lesley Gore (I have The Voice cover by Darby Walker)
  • “Fighter” by Christina Aguilera
  • “King of Anything” by Sara Bareilles
  • “Gonna Get Over You” by Sara Bareilles
  • “Get Yourself Together” by Christina Grimmie
  • “Ghost” by Ella Henderson
  • “Done.” by The Band Perry
  • “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” by Kelly Clarkson
  • “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)” by Beyoncé
  • “So What” by P!nk
  • “Goodbye” by Kristinia DeBarge
  • “Bartender” by Lady Antebellum
  • “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor
  • “Survivor” by Destiny’s Child
  • “A Little Bit Stronger” by Sara Evans (I have The Voice cover by Danielle Bradbery)
  • “I Do Not Hook Up” by Kelly Clarkson
  • “Mr. Know It All” by Kelly Clarkson
  • “A Broken Wing” by Martina McBride (I have The Voice cover by Holly Tucker)
  • “The War Is Over” by Kelly Clarkson
  • “Little Black Dress” by Sara Bareilles
  • “Dollhouse” by Priscilla Renea
  • “My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It)” by En Vogue
  • “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga
  • “Part of Me” by Katy Perry
  • “Express Yourself” by Madonna (I have the Glee cover)
  • “Get It Right” by Teedra Moses
  • “Think” by Aretha Franklin (from The Blues Brothers)
  • “Independent Women Part I” by Destiny’s Child
  • “I Don’t Need a Man” by The Pussycat Dolls
  • “Miss Independent” by Kelly Clarkson
  • “Miss Independent” by Ne-Yo (a great feminist love song in which Ne-Yo describes his admiration for a woman who “wants him but doesn’t need him”)
  • “Make Me Better” by Fabolous feat. Ne-Yo
  • “No Scrubs” by TLC
  • “Dip It Low” by Christina Milian feat. Fabolous
  • “Bootylicious” by Destiny’s Child
  • “Touch-A, Touch-A, Touch Me” by Susan Sarandon (from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the moment Janet takes control of her sexual desires)
  • “Anything Could Happen” by Ellie Goulding (I have The Voice cover by Caroline Pennell)
  • “No More (Baby I’ma Do Right)” by 3LW (uh-oh, my age is showing…)
  • “Halo” by Beyoncé
  • “She Is Love” by Parachute
  • “Wild Horses” by The Rolling Stones (I have the cover by The Sundays)
  • “These Words” by Natasha Bedingfield
  • “She’s a Lady” by Tom Jones
  • “Stronger” by Britney Spears
  • “A Woman’s Worth” by Alicia Keys

(Hmm. I have a lot of songs about relationships even though I have never been in a relationship. Go figure.)

Feel-Good Songs

  • “Some Nights” by Fun. (I have The Voice cover by Christina Grimmie; the lyrics aren’t exactly feel-good but the music is, as are the dulcet but powered pipes of the lovely, late Miss Grimmie)
  • “#thatPOWER” by feat. Justin Bieber (I have The Voice cover by Judith Hill)
  • “Keeps Gettin’ Better” by Christina Aguilera
  • “Bella Finals” by The Barden Bellas of Pitch Perfect
  • “World Championship Finale 2” by The Barden Bellas of Pitch Perfect 2
  • “Love Song” by Sara Bareilles
  • “Do What U Want” by Lady Gaga feat. R. Kelly (I have The Voice cover by Sisaundra Lewis)
  • “Catch My Breath” by Kelly Clarkson
  • “Who I Am” by Jessica Andrews (I have The Voice cover by Danielle Bradbery)
  • “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack
  • “Just Fine” by Mary J. Blige
  • “Suddenly I See” by KT Tunstall
  • “We Are Family” by Sister Sledge
  • “We Found Love” by Rihanna feat. Calvin Harris
  • “Something Kind of Ooooh” by Girls Aloud (a good workout song off the fabulous soundtrack to an underrated romance-comedy called Run, Fatboy, Run)
  • “Queen of the Night” by Whitney Houston
  • “I’m Every Woman” by Whitney Houston
  • “Man! I Feel Like a Woman” by Shania Twain
  • “Show Me How You Burlesque” by Christina Aguilera (from Burlesque)
  • Lady Marmalade by Patti LaBelle (I have the Moulin Rouge cover)
  • “We R Who We R” by Kesha (formerly Ke$ha)
  • “Put Your Records On” by Corinne Bailey Rae
  • “I’m Like a Bird” by Nelly Furtado (I have The Voice cover by Mathai; another where the lyrics aren’t particularly inspirational but the melody is calming)
  • “One” by India.Arie
  • “Selena” by Wyclef Jean feat. Melissa Jiménez (a tribute song honoring lovable, late Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla-Pérez)

Honorable Mention: “I Am Woman” by Helen Reddy, a pioneer song for the women’s liberation movement in the 1970s.

There we have it, my personal “Girl Power” playlist, a bevy of songs reinforcing the kind of feminism and empowerment I stand for: equal opportunities, rights and treatment to men; emotional independence; sisterhood; and varied definitions of beauty and the recognition and appreciation of inherent female resilience. Ladies, what are your favorite go-to empowerment songs? If you care to share, please leave a comment below. What you share just might make someone feel better! After all, it was lists like these that helped me and led me to form my own.



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