Pop Culture Intervention

5 Albums From Black Women That Deserve Your Attention Ahead Of The 2018 BET Awards

Move over, Kendrick Lamar and Jay-Z.

If the 2018 BET Awards aren't the perfect way to celebrate African-American Music Appreciation Month (often called Black Music Month) we don't know what is. After all, what other award show celebrates Black excellence across the fields of music, sports, television, and movies? Yeah, there aren't many out there.

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For those of you who aren't familiar with this month-long celebration, it came about in 1979 when President Jimmy Carter issued a proclamation that, for the entire month of June, the contributions of Black Americans in music would be honored. It was first called Black Music Month but later, under President Barack Obama in 2009, it was changed to African-American Music Appreciation Month. Since its creation, all U.S. presidents have observed the occasion, including President Donald Trump.

Just like we did last year, we've sifted through all the music nominees and picked out a few albums that you really should check out ahead of June 24, when the 18th annual BET Awards — hosted by Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx — air live. You may know the likes of Black men like Jay Z (with 4:44, his 13th studio album), Kendrick Lamar (whose DAMN. won him a Pulitzer Prize), Drake (always a favorite), or DJ Khaled (the most-nominated person this year). That said, here are five offerings from Black women that deserve just as much — if not more — attention:

"Invasion of Privacy" by Cardi B

If anyone has been owning all of pop culture lately it has to be Cardi B. The Love & Hip Hop: New York alum's debut album, 2018's Invasion of Privacy, topped the charts, and the song "Bodak Yellow" was a cultural phenomenon and earned two Grammy nominations. Headed into the 2018 BET Awards, this hit-maker has seven nominations, including two for Best Collaboration, two for Video of the Year, two for the Coca-Cola Viewers' Choice Award, and one for Best Female Hip-Hop Artist.

"The Kids Are Alright" by Chloe x Halle

When it comes to musical groups, nothing beats working with family. Chloe x Halle — consisting of sisters Chloe and Halle Bailey (born in 1998 and 2000, respectively) — are signed to Beyoncé's Parkwood Entertainment and released their debut album, The Kids Are Alright, this year. On top of that, they star on the Yara Shahidi-led Grown-ish and were recruited by Ava DuVernay to appear on the A Wrinkle in Time soundtrack. They are nominated for Best Group and the BET Her Award.

"Dirty Computer" by Janelle Monáe

We've known Janelle Monáe for a little while now — both musically as well as with films such as Moonlight and Hidden Figures (both of which were nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars) — but this has been a major year for her. She came out as pansexual and dropped a killer album titled Dirty Computer, cementing a place among one of the most important voices in pop culture today. Monáe is only up for one BET Award this year, the BET Her Award, but continues to inspire us.

"Coconut Oil" by Lizzo

Though this isn't technically a full album, we couldn't pass up on including Lizzo and the Coconut Oil EP on this list. Though you may think you don't know her, she is pretty much everywhere — movies, commercials, etc. — and you'll recognize songs such as "Good as Hell," "Water Me," or "Truth Hurts." This year, Lizzo is nominated for the BET Her Award and is continuing her meteoric rise to stardom, though she should already be a household name by now. It's Lizzo's world, we're just living in it.

"Ctrl" by SZA

One of the brightest stars in R&B today, SZA burst on the scene a few years back and, with her debut album Ctrl, proved that she is a force to be reckoned with, having amassed five Grammy nominations. At the BET Awards this year, SZA is nominated for Album of the Year, the Coca-Cola Viewers' Choice Award, Best New Artist, and Best Female R&B/Pop Artist. SZA is also known for collaborating with artists such as Maroon 5, Kendrick Lamar (on the Black Panther soundtrack), and Cardi B, to name a few.

The BET Awards air Sunday, June 24 at 8 p.m. Eastern Time.

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