Urban Girl Mag | Monica and Brandy Broke the Verzuz Record… Because… Black Women
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Monica and Brandy Broke the Verzuz Record… Because… Black Women

Being a black woman is not easy nor is it for the faint of heart, but it’s an amazing experience I would never trade. This experience is nothing your mom could prepare you for because most of our challenges go ignored and undocumented. There was no preparing me for the world or how once I was settled into the culture of the work place I would often feel as if I was overlooked or ignored or even undermined when making suggestions.  There was no prep talk on how these actions would come not only from those who believe they’re superior because of their race and gender but you can expect this from black men and even some black women. There are black women who operate out of fear… fear that there is only room for one of us to thrive. A mindset that can be damaging to others and even toxic.

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That exact way of thinking is what got us to a place where a Brandy vs Monica Verzuz was necessary. I’m assuming that their beef stemmed from the idea of scarcity, that only one of then could succeed in this massive industry dominated by men.  The same industry that according to Women in Music is made up of 70% men and 30% women and when  divided even more based on race and gender, the margin for black women is even smaller. This would explain the rampant sexual discrimination claims and lawsuits that  hover over the music industry. When a black woman is finally given the opportunity to become a successful music artist they are convinced to feud with their colleague because apparently there was only one seat at the table to begin with and may the best black woman win.

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Growing up I was a fan of the hit show Moesha, I was a fan of Brandy’s music, I mean how could you not be? Brandy was the it black girl of the 90’s, we literally watched her grow and mature into the artist we see today. I was equally a fan of Monica and her music. Not only was there Brandy and Moncia, but there was SWV, and Mya, and Monifah, and Mary J. Blige, and the original Destiny’s Child, and Aaliyah, and the list goes on. If you’re like me then you’ve felt the recognition of the aforementioned music artists could’ve been greater during the prime of their careers. Or maybe it bothered you how Beyonce was snubbed at the Grammys for album of the year and the award was instead given to Adele instead. As I said in the first paragraph black women have to deal with being ignored and undermined, even if our talent and voice is as big and bright as Beyonce’s. She is clearly one of the most downplayed entertainers  of our time when it comes to recognition and award shows.  We can also turn our attention to Breonna Taylor who was killed by Louisville, Kentucky police in her home. The state of Kentucky has yet to arrest the cops responsible in the 6 months since her death.

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The music industry coupled with mainstream media were obsessed with making us choose between two talented young women. There was some truth to the rumors of the two ladies not being besties, but maybe they became convinced of the rumors over time.

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The unwritten rule was if you were a Brandy fan you couldn’t be a Monica fan and vice versa. Rumors swirled of the two ladies not getting along, fighting backstage, not liking one another because of a guy and etc. At the end of the day their music spoke for its self, they were extremely talented nothing short of it. Their music gave a voice to the often silenced black girl.

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During the era of cds I had theirs on heavy rotation. Brandy’s self titled debut album felt like 1994 personified, and her Full Moon album could be considered one of the best rnb albums during that time. Monica’s Debut album Miss Thang was in every black girls cd wallet, and her albums ‘After the Storm‘ and ‘Still Standing‘ could arguably be some of her best work.

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The way 6 million people tuned in combined between Apple Music and Instagram  to the Brandy vs Monica Verzuz is nothing short of amazing. I’m just going to say that again, 6 million viewers! They decided to join forces for the sake of the culture and create great entertainment they garnered record topping viewers. I’m sure a percentage of viewers were hoping for a punch to be thrown but the vast majority watching according to the comments and to my own personal timeline were true dedicated fans looking to relive that feeling they’d get when a Brandy or Monica song was played back in the day.

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In that moment when the Verzuz aired live on instagram and Apple Music these black women were able to put their differences behind them and their perceived beef was resolved in the name of creating a great experience for us all. In that moment black women weren’t ignored but were heard. Not only was Brandy and Monica heard through the speakers of our ipads, iphones, androids and tvs but as we know representation matters. Black women everywhere who were patiently waiting to be heard by the music industry finally got a moment. Black women, including myself who may of ever felt like music award shows failed to properly acknowledge and respect the talents and gifts of countless artists whose music  speak up for us and to us. We finally got a moment to appreciate OUR music.

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We were given that an opportunity to be heard and seen by way of Brandy and Monica. Verzuz reached their highest numbers in viewership. Verzuz ft Brandy and Monica was bigger than music, it was a moment in our culture and in time where for 2 hours black women finally felt heard, this moment was too big to turn a blind eye or ignore its impact. If you’re reading this I want you to: LISTEN TO BLACK WOMEN, HEAR BLACK WOMEN WHEN THEY SPEAK AND GIVE THEM AN OPPORTUNITY TO SHOW YOU THEIR TALENTS AND ABILITIES. THE IMPACT OF A BLACK WOMAN IS TOO GREAT TO IGNORE.

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Run that back turbo…

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des hadley
desiree_hadley@yahoo.com

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