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Last year was a critical point for female pop artists: acts like Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj, Beyoncé, Charli XCX, Ariana Grande, Charli XCX and Iggy Azalea dominated the charts and the number of empowering collaborations that came out of all of these women created a strong movement. Instead of clawing over each other to reach the top, these women supported one another, appeared on each other’s songs and gave props whenever possible.
That momentum has yet to slow down in 2015. Iggy Azalea and Britney Spears recently teamed up for Pretty Girls, Taylor Swift recruited all of her amazing friends in her latest music video for Bad Blood, and to top that all off, the world (okay, Tidal) gave us a new Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé music video. (Even at the box office, Pitch Perfect 2 and the awesomely feminist Mad Max took the top spots this past weekend.) This year may have started off with Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars holding steady at the top, but we’re almost midway through the year and the contenders for song of the summer are mostly from with badass women.
Let’s start with the highly-anticipated Bad Blood. Sure, it wasn’t the 10+ minute epic that we had hoped for — let’s pray for that version to be released in the near future — but it was still an ass-kicking video featuring all of Swift’s fiercest female friends (plus the equally fierce Kendrick Lamar). Instead of focusing on feuds and fights, as the context of song can suggest, Bad Blood was four minutes of Swift prepping for battle, learning from her closest pals and becoming stronger because of them. Yes, it’s a song rumoured to be about Katy Perry and, yes, it shows Selena Gomez stabbing Swift in the back at the beginning, but it also promotes strength and surrounding yourself with women who you can learn from. And the reality is that not all women (and people in general) get along sometimes and it doesn’t need to be labeled catty or bitchy. Bad Blood is less bitchy, and more badass and though it may not stand as one of 1989‘s best singles, Swift’s sheer power and popularity will assure its success for the months to come.
On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, we have Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé’s fun new video for Feeling Myself (off of Minaj’s 2014 album, The Pinkprint). Fans have been waiting for this video even longer than Bad Blood as Minaj has teased the making of this video for a long time now, but it was finally released yesterday via Tidal (which Beyoncé and Minaj are a part of) and, we don’t know about you, but our world definitely stopped for a few minutes. Beyoncé just has that power.
While Bad Blood worked overtime to prove its female empowerment at times (leather, weapons, flames galore), Feeling Myself is all fun and games (and fast food). Feeling Myself stays true to its title and shows off Bey and Nicki just hanging out in their casual clothes (or as casual as they can be), having fun, but ultimately still empowering each other. The video kicks off with Bey just goofing off, repeating the words “feelin’ myself” over and over again as the director prepares the shot, probably the most off-the-cuff thing we’ve ever seen from Bey. The rest of the video follows suit: an easygoing shot that feels completely improvised and like any regular day hanging with the girls. It’s a more relatable version of friendship than the one Bad Blood portrays, sure, but the end goal is the exact same: surround yourself with strong, confident, skilled, talented women and together, they can be unstoppable. Together, you can feed each other fries or walk through flames to tackle a fight. [Watch Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé’s music video for Feeling Myself here.]
And that’s not all: with the return of Rihanna, Hilary Duff, Carly Rae Jepsen, Ciara and Kelly Clarkson, in addition to new faces like Natalie La Rose and Tori Kelly, and the continued success of Fifth Harmony, Meghan Trainor and Tove Lo, 2015 is bound to have another strong showing from pop’s brightest female talents because girl power is real and it’s here to stay.