Martha Wash, Fatness, Marketability and Capitalism

There is no sentiment that grinds my gears than “Even if you don’t know who Martha Wash is, you know her voice.” If you are a student, lover of music… you ideally should know who Martha Wash is.

But I am getting ahead of myself.

We were re-watching the Unsung Sylvester episode and Martha Wash was one of those being interviewed and I started talking about how I loved Blackbox growing up, I had their tapes, danced to their songs but my heart was crushed when I found out that Martha Wash sung the songs but was considered unattractive (read: fat) and wasn’t considered marketable (they said the same thing about Missy Elliot when she first came on the scene). They (music execs) got a model to lip sync her voice (same thing happened with C+C Factory).

Of course we all know Martha Wash mostly from The Weather Girls but she is a vocal power house who, because of the way the system is set up (CAPITALISM), was relegated to a background singer more often than not.

I find it fascinating that in interviews, she talks about how producers would call her in do to background vocals and then use her voice as the main voice. She sued a couple of times and a law was put in place where vocal credits HAVE to be included in song credits.

(seeing Whitney Houston in this clip is tugging on my heart but listen to her talk about Martha Wash)

Honestly, as I am writing this I am thinking about Lizzo and how in some way, the system is set up for her to fail and part of the reason that people intensely dislike her is because she is fat. She doesn’t have the look that capitalism has told the world people who succeed should look like.


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