Thursday, June 13, 2024

Time to Give Singer/Songwriter Martha Wash Her Props | VIDEO

Martha Wash - GettyImages
Martha Wash – GettyImages

*Legendary singer and songwriter Martha Wash is one big star whose contribution to Black and big girl culture is generally underappreciated.

Her name is rarely mentioned among the greatest singers of her time, such as Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle, Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight, and Stephanie Mills.

She was not just a Black singer, but also an assertive woman who demanded that she be treated respectfully and that nobody looks down on her just because she is Black or plus-sized, according to Madamenoire.

Wash, 69, a native of San Francisco, began public singing at age two in her parents’ California church. She studied classical opera and toured Europe when just a teen. This was after she recorded albums and became a great gospel singer. One of her clips is “Praise Him.”

“It’s Raining Men” is another of her songs that put her on the map.

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The music industry deliberately shunned Martha Wash, merely because her body didn’t fit their idea of a star.  For instance, when Rebbie Jackson released her hit “Centipede” in 1984, Martha sang background vocals together with Izora Armstead and the late Michael Jackson.

Did you know that it was Wash’s rich soprano ad-libs during the bridge and the end of the song that made it a big hit? Yet she was never featured in the video. She was just a background singer in the song. Rebbie herself lip-synced Martha’s voice in the song’s video.

Wash was regularly topping herself on the music charts in the early 1990s. Many songs wouldn’t have made it without inputting her gospel-tinged flavor. Yet producers usually used models in her place when it came to music videos.

When the “Strike it Up” singer realized the music executives were taking her for granted, she began suing them one by one — she took to court everyone who used her voice to gain fame yet sidelined her. She set a precedent in the music industry, and they soon learned to give her name credit and her other rights.

Her efforts to fight for her rights were not in vain, for she set a new standard in the music industry. Ever since, all artists have been credited for their contributions to a song, be it as songwriters or background singers.

Wash once appeared on “The Arsenio Hall Show” where she called out those who overlooked her because of plus-size that didn’t suit the so-called patriarchal and European beauty standards.

Undeterred, Martha Wash went on to release more albums.

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