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When she entered the music world a lot of women quickly ditched perming and straightening their hair, which I think makes her one of the main influential pioneers in the group of 90’s artists that by led by example the call to go natural. I think she also led the call for women of all ages, races and cultures to find their own singular style, beauty and image that is true to themselves, not what society or the pages of a magazine told us to be. She made it okay to be different, more importantly, she made it okay for black women to be different, which is sadly still a struggle in this country—if a white woman wants to be goofy and silly it is cute, if she wants to be dressed in an unusual outfit she is cool, but if a black woman wants to explore different looks and taste she is considered to be a wannabe or a fake or just plain weird.
Erykah stood up and spoke out in defense of herself to not being labeled because she had three babies by three different fathers, and in doing that she stood out and spoke up for all single women and all woman with children by more than one father. Erykah once again is breaking molds and expectations by boldly showing her grey hair, and while this may be a style with the young to be grey, after 40 it is no longer considered acceptable by society’s standards if you want to still be considered sexy and beautiful. But once again she pulls it off. And in that way of hers she does it not caring about or being dependent on the outcome or response of what the world thinks in return.
In her personal life, in her music, in her words, in her actions, in her humor, in her frustrations, she is always undeniably, unapologetically and uniquely “her” and for that, along with her amazing talent and beauty, I consider her not just a queen of neo soul, but an example and an inspiration for all women.