In 2020, Province became a team.  What started in 2013 as one man and a laptop became 14 amazingly talented content creators, 12 of whom are women.  International Women’s Day feels like an excellent opportunity to thank them for their passion & commitment, and to hear from our writers about the women who inspire them.

This post is dedicated to Province contributors Amanda Wahlqvist, Claudia Afranie, Dalia Al-Dujaili, Jade Dadalica, Jasmine Joshi, Kaeshelle Rianne, Laurel Wilson, Maria Rodrigues, Niccole Wilson, Eloise Bland & Mica Anthony.

Little Simz’ talent extends beyond music, acting and photography into a total mastery of the arts.  Whether it’s the choice of words in her bars, the precise angle that she twists her camera lens, or the abundance of energy she injects into her performance, Simz does everything with her whole chest.  She refuses to be boxed into categories, carving out her own lane, and it’s this defiant stance that makes her such an empowering figure to people everywhere, especially for North Londoners who look just like her, just like me.

I’ve been loving British artist Camille Munn; I discovered her through a friend last year and immediately fell in love with her sultry voice.  She commands attention with her range and the soulful vibe of her music has such a warm and mellow tone.  She really embodies feminine strength and powerful, jazzy sensuality.

In the spirit of celebrating bonds of kinship between women, I turned towards my own history with, and exposure to, music – recalling the small, self-indulgent acts of rebellion I engaged with as a teenager, associating myself with male-dominated punk and alternative spheres.  I wish a younger version of myself, caught up in internalised misogyny, could have seen there was a place for women of colour in those same subcultures, whilst also remaining true to themselves.  This is where LustSickPuppy comes in, having emerged onto the New York rap scene explosively in the past year with the release of her debut EP, Cosmic Brownie.  Her music is an ode to the city’s rich cultural diversity as well as her own experiences.  Always shameless, raw and anarchic in her stylistic approach, she consistently pushes the boundaries of what it means to be a woman and to feel comfortable and liberated in her own body.

South London gal Sasha Keable has been one of my lockdown go-to’s. While she has been around since the mid-2010’s — collaborating with artists such as Disclosure — I believe she hasn’t quite gotten the love that she deserves yet.  Soft and honest old school Soul and RnB with some jazzy undertones is her thing, and I’ve been loving it.  With new projects on the way, I think Sasha is definitely someone to keep an eye on in 2021.  Personal favourites include ‘Nice Side,’ and her newly released single ‘Exception.’

Singer songwriter Hope Tala is a black British artist I have been listening to non-stop.  Her music makes you feel so good it’s addictive, and her pen game is exquisite – she paints stories for her listeners so eloquently and writes in a style all of her own.  A brave risk taker, she even rejected an offer to do a masters at Cambridge to pursue her music, a choice she is now reaping the rewards from.  To see an artist so confident in their skill who consistently produces amazing work inspires me to put that into practice in my day to day life.

Nigeria-born Shaé Universe brings a refreshing twist to R&B.  I accidentally came across this new female artist, noticing a distinctive neo-soul tone rarely heard in modern music when I first heard ‘You Lose.’  I was immediately drawn to its blend of R&B and Drill, and the music video was full of beautiful women from all over the world, celebrating each and every one.  Another song of hers named ‘Levels’ is all about paying homage to the black female artists that came before her, as well serving as a reminder that women (especially black women) are capable of anything.  Her presence is what we all need and her fearlessness in such a male-dominated scene is truly inspiring, whilst teaching women the importance of self-love in the process.

Noname popped on my radar circa 2016, the same year she had released her debut album ‘Telefone,’ and I’ve been delving into her past releases ever since.  Noname’s work feels extremely intimate; a reflection of her own experience as a black woman and of what the rapper has figured of the world.  Although I can’t fully grasp her own experiences, it takes courage to pour your heart out only for the world to listen.  Her work is political and honest, packed with insight, and spoken with her uniquely soothing and hopeful Neo-Soul sensibility.  It’s for the ability to deliver such pieces in a way that makes those who listen question the world in which we live, that I admire Noname the most.

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