The Importance of SZA in Today’s Mainstream Media Culture

Many fans of SZA are drawn in, not just by her beautiful music but by what she represents. Her success speaks volumes about where we are in our culture. She speaks for the mentality of young women and expands our perceptions of beauty. My appreciation of SZA began quite later than most. I started to really listen to her music only in February 2018 and I found her quite intriguing. She is what mainstream media would label “edgy” because she breaks the mold of mainstream RnB. The further I looked into her art, the more I appreciated the little things that separate her from the rest.

Transparency.

Her lyrics say it exactly how it is. In a culture where women are shamed for being open about their sexuality, SZA sings about hers in a non-vulgar, yet brutally honest way. She also reminds girls that it’s healing to open up about relationships and experiences that you’ve learned from.

Style freedom.

While RnB singers rely on hourglass figures and tight clothes to stay relevant, SZA frequently stunts on us with baggy jeans and oversized T-Shirts, teaching girls that tom-boy style doesn’t make you any less of a woman. It is important for young girls to see that ones femininity can always shine through, no matter what she likes to wear. We don’t have to sacrifice our comfort in order to feel beautiful.

She balances out the complexion representation in an industry where light-skinned women propel ahead based on the misconception that the lighter complexion is more palatable to a mainstream audience. Show business executives are often reluctant to invest as much into dark-skinned women because they are deemed to be less marketable. SZA breaks those rules and we are grateful to Dr. Dre for giving her the opportunity to.

Bringing Originality Back.

Her music deviates from the mainstream sounds and the structure of her songs don’t follow the formula of the typical RnB song or ballad. Her verses vary in length and she changes key more frequently than I have heard anyone ever do, making her music feel almost improvised and led entirely by emotion.

She is fearlessly creative and her bravery is inspiring. She liberates me as a writer to say what I really think and I believe she does this for countless other women. We look forward to seeing her continue to grow and challenge the status quo.

by Zani Tsabedze

Zani

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