It wasn’t too long ago when Patti LaBelle crossed the stage with Sarah Dash and Nona Hendryx wearing nothing but feathers, spandex and four-inch heels. Known for their sexually charged, erotic songs like “Lady Marmalade,” LaBelle was one of the first female groups to use music as a platform to discuss sex. At the time it was not seen as a liberating feat, but more of a bold move for women in the industry whom always “subtlety suggested” through sexual innuendos. It’s important to note that although they were shocking in their apparel, all three women could sing the white off rice. 50 years later it’s a different story.

Only a small token of music’s sexual revolution has persisted today… that being the sex part. Nothing but sex. Many would argue that artists like Beyonce Knowles and Christina Aguilera are some of the most vocally competent artists out there — and that statement is true. Both women have extremely amazing gifts, that separate them from the wild pack of talentless pseudo-strippers who decide to pick up a mic and record an album “to express themselves.” But their present image has gone to a place beyond bold, so beyond that we forget both women know the difference between “vibrato” and “rubato.”

So beyond, that other women with the same caliber (or less) of talent feel like there’s some sort of strip tease contest wherein whomever can hold a note and undress the fastest, wins.

Super fans of both women and other young artists will disagree. They’d say it’s just the “nature” of the business, “sex sells” and our generation is so unfazed by sex that it doesn’t make a difference either way. But research is always the proof in the pudding and according to a study from the American Psychology Association, “images and promotion of girls as sexual objects negatively affects young girls in many ways.”

“Black girls are not seeing positive images of who they are and what they can be,” said Carolyn West, associate professor of psychology and the study of prevention of violence at the University of Washington. “Looking at the sexual imagery really impacts on the functioning of teenage girls. It sets the foundation for future victimization and causes teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases,” she told the Post-Gazette.

The media has given us so many what-the-hell-is-this-world-coming-to moments in the past few years. Especially with the influx of celebrity sex tapes, we’ve been able to view absolute untalented buffoons grow into mega stars. It’s no wonder why young girls would rather be like Draya Michele than Michelle Obama.

The question is, at what point will the talent be able to stand on its own — fully clothed?

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