Today, more than ever, we see women tapping into their most divine self. You may be asking, what is this higher power I allude to? What is this new-found divinity? Well, it is that of the Girl Boss. In a world guided by a patriarchal agenda, where we are constantly bombarded with misogyny, sexism, and archaic gender norms the Girl Boss has emerged as a direct challenge to these toxic structures. As women slowly claim their seats at the table, whether in music, business, science, education, etc. they are literally defying the traditional standards set out for them.
By definition, a “Girl Boss” is simply a confident, capable woman who pursues her own ambitions instead of working for others or otherwise settling in life. Despite the name, a Girl Boss does not necessarily have her own business, and is not limited to age. This term depicts a woman that is clear on her intentions, desires, goals and needs, who will not settle for anything less than those expectations.
I say all of this to say that this phrase truly defines me. As a first generation Dominican/American woman who literally came up from nothing, I have worked hard for every single accomplishment I have today. From living in shelters, and living well below the poverty line, I have witnessed the personification of a Girl Boss through my mother. Her unwavering tenacity, and resilience in this world taught me the divine strength that resides in us as women. Today, I am a soon to be Rutgers graduate, founder of the rising non profit Music for Medicine, and self proclaimed #GirlBoss.
Therefore, in my experience as a daughter, student, musician, and entrepreneur I have navigated a variety of spaces where I have been subjected to these traditional standards designed for women and have used the elements of the Girl Boss to guide me. The four main characteristics of a true boss lady are:
- Goal Setting
Listen and absorb all the marvelous feminine energy this 10 track playlist embodies, and let it guide you towards your inner Girl Boss.
- LEIKELI47 — “Post That”
“Post That” is a celebration of your beauty, and your confidence. Many times, as a plus size woman I found myself feeling insecure and embarrassed to wear certain clothes, take certain pictures, and to even go certain places. Wheew. What a time. As I tapped into my divinity as a woman, I realized that I was allowing the media to control the perception I had of myself. “Post That” is hyped and filled with the vogue energy you need to bring out that baddie. She sings, “Hit that pose, take that flick. Check your angle, post that shit,” so yes girl wear that outfit you like, show however much skin you want to show, strike a pose and own your moment.
2. IAMDDB — “Pause”
Remember, a Girl Boss sets her goals, and smashes them (preferably out loud). IAMDDB offers us some insight into her swagalicious, sauce dripping world as she sings, “I tried to take my time / But it’s not working, I’ma go and get mine / Money affi mek, money’s on my mind,” in other words the world is full of distractions and obstacles that will try to stop you from reaching your ultimate destination, but do not fall for it – it’s a trap! You have got to keep going, glowing and growing as there is money to be made and goals to be reached. This is my favorite, most essential portion of the song:
They don’t want you, they want you to fallIAMDDB – “Pause” via Genius
But I’m not falling, I’m rising above them all
And now they want my sauce
And now they singing my songs, ah
What did you think I lost, nah
My third game eye strong
And now I’m swiggin’ sauce on them all, yeah
Baby girl we started from the bottom now we on top of the globe
Can you see the world?
You ain’t gotta love me cause we
Got the sauce to cure the world, yeah
If little ol’ me has had haters, I know you have too! Pay them no mind, chase those dreams, secure that bag, and spread more love.
3. Doja Cat — “Boss Bitch”
Ah yes, my favorite slur. The one men have tried to use to minimize, defame, and shame women for decades, bitch. Yet, as further proof of our resilience and strength as women, we have reclaimed this phrase and turned it into an even better one, boss bitch, which I am sure has left many men feeling…silly. In the song titled, “Boss Bitch” Doja Cat reclaims her power as she sings, “I’m a bitch, I’m a boss, I’m a bitch and a boss, I’ma shine like gloss”, which I believe to be pretty self explanatory. Once you understand your true power, worth, and ability to remain unfazed as the queen that you are, you’ll realize that you are indeed a boss bitch and your aura shines brighter than all the diamonds in the world.
4. Princess Nokia – “Tomboy”
“Tomboy” is a major “f–k you” to the crippling and impossible beauty standards women are subjected to, and is truly the epitome of feminism. More specifically, as women of color we understand the extent to which our image has been molded by patriarchy—and colonialism, for that matter—forcing us to conform to archaic (and Eurocentric) notions of “beauty,” and “sex appeal” to please the male gaze. I love this song, and yes I dance around to it in my room on repeat, because it fearlessly dismantles that entirely. In an interview with Mass Appeal Princess Nokia talked about “Tomboy” as it related to her flaws and said, “I’ve done fallen in love with all of mine. I see my existence as a big f–k you to conventionality. Sure I have little titties and a phat belly, but that doesn’t make me less of a goddess, less of an aphrodisiac.” No matter your gender identity, expression, or style of dress, you are perfect, you are beautiful, and no one can tell you differently!
5. Melii – “Feel Me”
This song right here has gotten me through some of my most difficult times, and it has served as a reminder of how far I have come in life. From a young age I learned the value of a solid work ethic, and non-stop hustle. My mother raised my sister and I all on her own and as an immigrant women she did not have access to a higher education, or a well-paying job. I remember being amazed by how she’d work 3-4 jobs at a time and still manage to show up for my sister and I’s major milestones. On the weekends, she was always crafting up a side gig. Whether we were on the corners of Jersey City selling water with her for 50 cents, making holiday gift baskets filled with dollar store goodies and selling them in front of supermarkets, or selling candies at the beauty shops, money was being generated and food was on the table. Although times got hard as all hell, and they still do, we make it through. “Feel Me” inspires me to keep going. To never stop working because one day i’m going to repay my mom for all her sacrifice.
I’ma pop a bottle, went from H&M a to’ lo caroMelii – Feel Me via Genius
Twenty y le compre ma’ un carro (Twenty and I bought my mom a car)
Ella la razón por lo que hago (She’s the reason for everything I do)
Cumplo su deseo como un mago (Grant her wishes like a magician)
Mami quit that job y date un trago (Mom quit that job and have a drink)
6. Kaiit – “OG Love Kush pt.2”
I know, I know, i’ve repeatedly mentioned how a Girl Boss is confident, strong, ambitious, and resilient but one of the very important elements of this self made woman is love. We’re first going to explore self-love as it is most imperative. Kaiit’s “OG Love Kush pt.2” is at it’s a core a song about setting boundaries, accepting nothing but the best most genuine love, and making better choices for yourself. Sometimes we tend to chase the love we think we deserve and it isn’t until we take a pause and evaluate what we bring to the table, and what love language we really speak that we discover and establish self-love.
7. Sampa The Great – “Protect Your Queen“
As we dive deeper into self -love, “Protect Your Queen”, not only depicts the power of Black Girl Magic, self-love, and self-realization but it also implores the need for our communities to love, empower, and protect our women. She touches upon the brutality of colonialism, systematic racism, and the sexualization of the female body and she warns against the continuous damage it will inflict upon us if we fail to love one another. Pieced together, this is a story of mutual, uninhibited love. Society makes it hard enough for us already, Sampa invites us to care for, and safe guard each other as she sings, “Now black King please / Protect your Queen / And black Queen please / Protect your King.”
Hips lips and kisses from the ancestorsSampa the Great – “Protect Your Queen” via Genius.
If u accept me kink and all coconut oil
Nine curl cos I can’t be Becky and I don’t wanna be
Systematic beauty is what you’ve seen
Change your scene if you ain’t seen a black queen
Walk with Wolves and I beat waves with the back of my thighs
I naturally block arteries
8. Etta Bond – “Seen And Never Heard“
“Seen and Never Heard”, is yet another one of my favorite feminist anthems. In this song she expresses an objectifying love, one that no woman should have to deal with. Traditional gender norms for women are that we be docile, maternal lovers to our husbands or male partner. By this standard, women are treated inferiorly and expected to carry out such behaviors. As she sings, “See, I could settle down, but no, I couldn’t be a trophy”, she disrupts this ideology and takes control of her body and individuality.
Would it be easier if I was seen and never heard?Etta Bond – “Seen and Never Heard” via Genius.
Caged up like a little bird?
Sat looking pretty, never said a word
If I was seen and never heard
If I couldn’t live without a man
Never spoke up when I gave a damn
Sat looking pretty, never said a word
If I was seen and never heard
9. Summer Walker – “Girls Need Love”
If you’re anything like me, Summer Walkers “Girls Need Love,” was on repeat at full blast in your room, car, and headphones. This song serves as a confessional, candid look into the plights facing girls who speak truthfully about the very normal need for affection, love, sex, or any other form of intimacy. Much like men, women have needs and we should not be shamed for actively satisfying them. Walkers hit single felt like one of the most sexullay liberating, and empowering songs of all time. Plain and simply, “Girls need love too.”
10. Millie Chantel – “11:11”
Congratulations! By the end of this playlist you’ve joined me on exploring the depths of a true Girls Boss. As we’ve expounded upon the elements of confidence, goal setting, fearlessness, and love we have now reached a literal example of it at work. My very first single “11:11,” was born from my own soul searching, self realization, and self acceptance. While this song is centered around love, sexual liberation, and manifesting your dreams and wishes it is also a testament to my commitment to digging deep and transforming myself into the woman I am today. Whether your passion is music, business, entertainment, science, education, etc, you can do it! If you do not believe so, then just take a look at me. As I have navigated this world with little to no resources, struggled with anxiety/depression, and have faced adversities due to my gender and ethnicity I have transformed those obstacles into catalysts. I believe in you for you are equipped with all that you will ever need. You are a girl, you are a boss, you are a Girl Boss.