By Soomin Chun and Soomin Lee
March is the month for women, as it is Women’s History Month in the US. In 1987, National Women’s History Month was declared in perpetuity, with a special Presidential Proclamation given each year to honor the achievements of women. Although gender equality has progressed tremendously from “women belong in the kitchen,” there is still some work to be done, particularly in regards to equal pay and social stigmatization. Take some time to recognize the empowering women in your life with these month’s songs.`
First, a soundtrack from the Disney movie Moana, giving inspiration to young women all around.
How Far I’ll Go – Auli’i Cravalho
When Moana, the main character of the movie, faces the dilemma of saving her village, she calls out to the ocean for an answer. In the beginning, Auli’i Cravalho (the voice of Moana) is unsure of what she should do because even though she wishes she “could be the perfect daughter…[she] comes back to the water, no matter how hard [she] tries.” Cravalho continues to sing of her uncertainty in the first verse, yet she finally accepts and realizes the ocean’s calling in the chorus. She knows that “if the wind in [her] sail on the sea stays behind” her, there will be no limits to her potential — she finally comes to the realization that she will be able to accomplish whatever she wishes if she just puts her heart into it. This is the perfect song for those struggling to find peace within themselves; Cravalho not only inspires younger girls but also ensures them that anything is possible by listening to the voice inside oneself.
Next up, a heartfelt song by American hip-hop artist and producer J. Cole that assures women all around the world of their worth.
Crooked Smile – J. Cole (feat. TLC)
Rapper J. Cole, most well known for his 2016 album “4 Your Eyes Only” which debuted at number one on the US billboard. That album recounts J. Cole’s experiences of growing up as a black man in current day America, encountering ghetto violence from a young age. However, “Crooked Smile” is one of Cole’s more upbeat songs with the positive message that “we ain’t picture perfect but we’re worth the picture still,” telling women all around the world that he sympathezis with their need to “kill [themselves] to find a man that’ll kill for [them].” The song consists of feel-good high harmonies by TLC in the chorus and J. Coles mellow voice speaking out the truth. Although many people may feel discouraged or disappointed at one point when they are degraded by their appearance, J. Cole reminds all of us that even if “we don’t look nothing like the people on the screen…we got dreams and the right to chase ‘em.”
Last but not least, Rachel Platten enkindles the potential of women through her song, “Fight Song.”
Fight Song – Rachel Platten
From the beginning, this song is different than many other songs about strength and power.
Rather than starting off powerfully, the beginning is calm with piano chords for a few bars.
Platten’s soft voices joins in to create harmony, gradually growing louder up to the end of the first verse where she sings about how she “might only have one match but [she] can make an explosion.” Similarly, her voice explodes in the chorus with powerful vocals as she starts to believe in herself and claims this song as her “fight song…life song…prove [she’s] alright song.” Such lyrics will surely touch your hearts and inspire you to never give up, to take another step forward, and most importantly, to believe in yourself.