The Invisible History of Plus-Sized Black Women In Music

Before women like Lizzo and Brittany Howard were getting their shine, Martha Wash and others before them struggled to be properly credited

Martha Wash. Photo: Mike Ruiz

It’s incredible to see that at one point in time, plus-sized women were, more or less, background entities in mainstream music, with the exception of frontwomen like The Mamas & the Papas’ Mama Cass.

Wash’s actions, albeit unintentional, would result in legislation that made vocal credits on albums and music videos mandatory. Additionally, legislation was introduced in New Jersey and New York during this time that required concert promoters to disclose whether or not prerecorded materials would be used on stage.

J’na is a journalist and creative from Jersey who tackles music, culture, social justice and more in her work. Get to know her:

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