Which is interesting in that most of my family sings surprisingly well AND I *will* sing but mostly not in public and almost always when it’s inappropriate and/OR when what I want to say/talk about has a lyric that goes along with it*.

FOR INSTANCE: I have been “working out” and by working out what I mostly mean is that I’ve been doing yoga and some strength training on an app. I don’t count derby because derby is just me learning how to skate on a banked track without busting my butt which, I gotta be honest happens a lot more than I talk about but this last time I fell was a doozy and luckily falling on the track hurts less than falling on the inside of the track which is cement. But apparently I’m pretty committed to learning how to skate derby (for fun), so I guess no pain, no gain. [also,  this song is from 1988, so yannow. I WAS VERY YOUNG]

Wow look at me getting in a favorite song AND the BHFOTD toute-de-suite. That’s right kids! Today’s fact is about Betty Wright! An original bad girl!

Born Bessie Regina Norris on December 21, 1953, she was the youngest of seven children of Rosa Akins Braddy-Wright and her second husband, McArthur Norris. Bessie began her professional career at the age of two when her siblings formed the Echoes of Joy, a gospel group. Heh. She contributed to vocals on the group’s first album, released in 1956. She and her siblings performed together until 1965, when she was 11 years old. Following the group’s break-up, Wright, who was already using the name Betty Wright, decided to switch musical styles from gospel to rhythm and blues, singing in local talent shows until she was spotted by a Miami record label owner, who signed her to her first label (Deep City Records) in 1966, when she was 12. She released the singles “Thank You Baby” and “Paralyzed”, which found Wright local fame in Miami. Her first album, My First Time Around, was released when she was age 14. Her first hit single was “Girls Can’t Do What the Guys Do”. In 1970, while still in high school, she released “Pure Love” at the age of 16.

About a year later, Wright released her signature song and side piece anthem “Clean Up Woman“, written by Clarence Reid and Willie Clarke and recorded when she was 17. The record reached number two on the R&B charts, where it stayed for eight weeks. It crossed over to the pop charts [which is just a fancy way of saying that even white people liked it], peaking at number six and staying on the Billboard Hot 100 for 14 weeks. Where it eventually sold over 1 million copies and was certified gold in 1971. Wright struggled with a successful follow-up until 1972 when the single “Baby Sitter” (one of Wright’s first compositions) reached the top 50 of the Hot 100 and peaked at number six on the R&B charts. Another hit that emerged during this early period was 1973’s “Let Me Be Your Lovemaker”, which peaked at number 55 on the Hot 100 and number 10 on the R&B chart, it was the first instance (after “Baby Sitter”) where Wright showed off her powerful whistle register vocals. She kept on singin’ and went on to form her own label, Miss B Records, issuing the album Sevens the following year. In 1988, Wright made history as the first black female artist to score a gold album on her own label, when her 1987 album, Mother Wit achieved that certification. The album was notable for the come-back hits “No Pain, No Gain,” which returned her to the top 20 on the R&B chart for the first time in a decade, and “After the Pain”.

Betty Wright’s legacy can be found all through hip hop and R&B, her music has been sampled by:

Mary J. Blige: Real Love

DJ Quik: Tonite

Slim Thug (ft. TI and Bun B): 3 Kings

Candyman: Knockin Boots

Color me badd: I wanna sex you up (Which. Was not a cleared sample. She won 35% of royalties for righting the song)


[ALSO MARIAH CAREY. Because before Mariah, there was Betty. And also Minnie Riperton, but y’all know what I’m saying]

*No, I’m never sorry as anybody who has heard me singing loudly and aggressively off key can attest.  

** ALSO. IT’S TWOSDAY. So I’m giving you a second favorite song: YOU’RE WELCOME.