In 2001 a total of 15 songs spent at the top of the time Billboard Hot 100.
For strangers, the data on sales performance and radio play collected by Nielsen SoundScan is compiled in the weekly table of the music publication, with the 100 most successful being rated. The list is industry standard. Getting to the top is a bloody big deal. And 20 years ago only 15 songs made it.
Of those 15 songs, six – or 40 percent – belonged to black women.
To put that into context, black women were only responsible for 22 percent of the No. 1 hits in 2020. In 2019 it was only 12 percent.
2001 was quite simply an important year for black women in music.
While their contributions can be felt year after year, regardless of their performance on the charts, one look at the entirety of their impact two decades ago is enough to have the least sentimental among us who yearn to travel back in time. After all, this was the year we got groundbreaking albums The Child of Destiny, Janet Jackson and Missy Elliott, introduced us Alicia Keys, forced us to say goodbye Aaliyah and saw Whitney Houston deserve exactly what their valued talent was worth.