While they’re always good for a dose of escapism and entertainment, movies are never short on inspiration — especially when it comes to biopics. This Friday, August 13, the story of Aretha Franklin will find its way to the big screen, thanks to the towering performance and sterling vocals of Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson in Respect. Franklin paved the way for so many artists of her ilk, and has been the inspiration for countless women in the music industry. Before you check out Respect this Friday, why not take a glimpse at some of the women who followed in her trailblazing footsteps and even walked alongside her? If you’re coming up short, we think these music documentaries about strong women are the perfect way to go — here’s why.
While this genre has traditionally been dominated by male artists (save for Madonna’s 1991 Truth or Dare and the posthumously released AMY for Amy Winehouse in 2015), since 2019 we’ve seen the it’s-about-darn-time expansion of the category to include female heavyweights and this writer can assure you they are all must-sees. From Pink to Tina Turner to The Go Go’s to Billie Eilish to Dolly Parton and more, these trailblazers are not only sharing their stories but telling their stories, and the results are powerful and fascinating.
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A version of this article was published in July 2021.