Every year at the Soul Train Awards, there is one award that goes to the a dope woman who has dominated the R&B airwaves. Through her music with touching, catchy, or powerful songs, her star shines either catapulting her into one of the biggest artists on the planet or solidifying her position.
That category is the Best R&B/Soul Female Artists of the year and in 2020, there's not just one diva who deserves that honor: they all do.
The nominees include heavy hitters and newcomers alike fighting for the crown and it’s conceivable that any of these women could win the big trophy. That is why we’ve created a list that explains just how well-deserving each artist is and why any or all of these ladies could easily take home this year's coveted Soul Train Award for Best R&B/Soul Female Artist.
Bar none, Beyoncé is perhaps the biggest R&B star of all time. Since coming into the game at just seven years old, when she won her very first talent show, she has become one of the world’s top performers. She’s been the epitome of what it means to be a Soul Train Award winner.
Just this year, she’s released a visual album about the African American experience called Black Is King and collaborated with Megan Thee Stallion for a remix of the rapper’s popular song, “Savage.” This follows up an amazing 2019, where she starred in the remake of The Lion King and worked on its award-winning soundtrack.
She’s simply unstoppable.
As a prodigal talent. H.E.R. has won almost every award one could imagine. She’s taken home Grammy Awards, iHeartRadio Music Awards, BET Awards, and even a few Soul Train awards in her short career — and those are just a few of the accolades that she has received for her talent. So celebrated for her rich vocals and heartfelt lyrics, it is hard to believe that she’s just 23-years old.
The singer released her second studio album, I Used to Know Her, in 2019 (a follow up of two EPs of the same name) and has continued to ride the wave that comes with releasing a critically acclaimed project. The work that she’s put in makes her a sure-shot to take home this award.
Alicia Keys has had her fair share of successes over her expansive career. As soul music’s most visible siren, her return to the front of pop culture shows that the best days of her career are in front of her. Keys’ memoir, More Myself: The Journey, along with her seventh studio album Alicia, sought to remind us just why we love the gifted musician, songwriter, and producer. But who really needed reminding?
She has nine Soul Train Awards (out of 20 nominations); how could anyone ever question just how dope she is?
Who else can sing about sex as eloquently as Jhene Aiko? Her ability to intertwine lust and thoughtfulness has made her a favorite for R&B fans everywhere. She released her third studio album, Chilombo, in March of this year. On the project, which features her boyfriend Big Sean, she explores everything from being fed up (“Triggered Freestyle”) to the joys of accepting her own sexuality (”Happiness Over Everything [H.O.E.]” with Future and Miguel.
While Chilombo showcases her unbelievable subject range, it also certifies her as a gifted singer. She’s a lock for this award based on how she connects with her audience in such honest ways.
Brandy came back to the industry after a break to deliver her seventh studio album, B7, after an eight-year intermission. That’s something only a legend could do. With collaborations featuring artists like Chance the Rapper and Ty Dolla $ign, Brandy made it clear that she could create hits in the world of yesterday and of today. She’s a master of her craft and a legend of soul.
Should she win, this will be only her third time snatching this honor.
At the 2019 Soul Train Awards, Summer Walker took home the award for Best New Artist. At this year’s ceremony, she returns, nominated for Best R&B/Soul Female Artist alongside women who she has likely adored and admired for years. To see her journey unfold like this is spectacular. She released the Life on Earth EP to continue the R&B world’s love affair with her sterling music, and it worked: the project peaked on the US Billboard Hot 200 at the No. 8 spot.
She may be a newbie to this category, but Walker’s storybook tale deserves this next chapter.
Watch the 2020 Soul Train Awards on BET on Sunday, November 29 at 8 p.m. EST.
H.E.R. Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy; Beyonce Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images For Parkwood Entertainment; and Summer Walker Photo by Jerritt Clark/Getty Images for ABA