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Women We Admire

Updated: Mar 24

In honor of Women’s History Month, we wanted to take a moment to talk about all the women and gender expansive people that the BBG staff deeply admires! Check these incredible people out.

Photo credits listed below.

Valerie June

Source: Billboard

Valerie June is a singer-songwriter, poet, illustrator, actor, certified yoga instructor, mindfulness meditation instructor, and author from Tennessee. In short, there’s very little that she can’t do. She has recorded three critically acclaimed, best-selling albums and has written songs for big names in the game, such as Mavis Staples and The Blind Boys of Alabama. Valerie June is nothing short of amazing: She recently published her first book of poems, titled Maps for the Modern World, which is an Amazon #1 Best Seller.

Check out some of her music here!

Imogen Heap


Imogen Heap is a singer-songwriter and record producer from England. On top of being a classically trained multi-instrumentalist, she is also regarded as a pioneer in pop and electro-pop music. Her songs have hit the top charts, and she’s received two Grammy Awards, an Ivor Novello Award, and a Drama Desk Award. Her technological innovation has also led her to develop a line of musical gloves called Mi.Mu, and a blockchain-based

music-sharing program named Mycelia.

Check out some of her music here!

Sama’ Abdulhadi

Source: DJ Mag

Sama’ Abdulhadi is a DJ & producer representing Palestine. She’s known as the “queen of the Palestinian techno scene.” She’s performed at several festivals, including Germany’s Fusion Festival, Hungary’s Sziget Festival, and the Boiler Room, a performance that took her career to the next level. Her intent is to put Palestine on the musical map and she’s succeeding, despite incredible hardships that have threatened her safety and freedom. During the pandemic, Sama’ was detained during a gig at the Nabi Musa cultural complex, While she was in prison, the techno community rallied behind her and created a petition signed by 100,000 people calling for her release. This arrest made international headlines and the authorities were forced to release her from jail. Nonetheless, nothing shakes this incredible woman, who’s still finding ways to tour and perform.

Check out some of her music here!


Source: Middle East Institute

Fairuz is considered to be one of the most famous singers in the history of the Arab world. She is a highly acclaimed musical icon hailing from Lebanon. She’s headlined some of the most important venues in the world like Albert Hall, Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, just to name a few. She’s released over 80 albums, has performed in 20 musicals, and has sold over 150 million records worldwide. She is one of the highest selling Middle Eastern artists of all time.

You can listen to Fairuz's music here!

Joni Mitchell

Source: NY Times

Joni Mitchell is one of the most influential singer-songwriters of our time. She’s a Canadian-American producer, musician, and painter. Rolling Stone has lauded her as “one of the greatest songwriters of all time.” Joni Mitchell has a long list of awards and accomplishments, but we’ll only name a few. She made the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2004. She’s received ten Grammy Awards, including a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002. She was ranked 9th on Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time”. She performed at the 2010 Winter Olympics opening ceremony in Vancouver. Mitchell is the first woman to ever receive the Les Paul Award. And, it’s recently been announced by the Library of Congress that she will be this year’s recipient of the Gershwin Prize.

Listen to her music here!

Totó La Momposina

Source: NBC News

Totó La Momposina is a highly acclaimed Colombian singer, whose music embodies and interprets the history, melodies, and culture of the indigenous peoples of her country. She’s been nominated for 6 Latin Grammy Awards and has won three of them. Her songs have been featured in multiple films and sampled by big-name artists like Major Lazer and Jay Z. In 2013, Totó received the Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Learn more about this inspiring woman here!

Source: Billboard

Kate Bush

Kate Bush is an English singer, songwriter, producer, and dancer. She is the first female artist to top the UK Singles Chart with a self-written song. You might have heard her song “Running Up That Hill” in season 4 of Stranger Things, but that barely begins to cover all of her accomplishments. In 1987 she won Best British Female Artist at the Brit Awards, she’s been nominated for three Grammy Awards, and has received recognition as an incredible artist and creator from Rolling Stone. She's also been nominated four times for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Kate Bush’s eclectic musical style, unique lyrics, and penchant for literary themes have made an international and historical impact on the music industry.

Listen to her music here!

Source: Variety

Valeisha Butterfield-Jones

Valeisha Butterfield-Jones is an impactful business leader, known for her work in tech, entertainment and politics. She is currently the Vice President of Partnerships and Engagement at Google, but before that she was Co-President of the Recording Academy, National Youth Vote Director of the Obama for America campaign, Global Head of Inclusion for Google, Inc., Deputy Director of Public Affairs for the International Trade Administration in the Obama Administration, just to name a few positions she's held. Butterfield-Jones has made a life altering impact in every sector that she’s been involved in, whether that’s her work as chief diversity and inclusion officer of The Recording Academy or her work in the Obama Administration.

Learn more about Valeisha on her Instagram page.

Audra McDonald

Source: Broadway

Audra McDonald is one of the biggest names in musical theater. Though she’s primarily known for her work on Broadway, McDonald has had an incredibly successful career. She has won six Tony Awards and is currently the actor with the most performance wins in all of Tony history, and she is the only person to have ever won in all four acting categories. She’s received two Grammy Awards and an Emmy Award. In 2016, she was awarded with a National Medal of Arts by President Obama. In 2017 she was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame. She’s performed with major symphony orchestras like the Berlin Philharmonic and the New York Philharmonic. She’s starred in several television shows like Private Practice, The Good Wife, and more. And, if that’s not enough, McDonald is constantly involved in activism and charity work, having been one of the people to help launch Black Theatre United, an organization who aims to combat systemic racism in theatre.

Catch her performing here.

-Written by Sabrina Gamboa



“About.” Valeisha,

“Audra McDonald.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 27 Feb. 2023,

“Fairuz.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 12 Mar. 2023,

“Home.” The Official Website of Singer and Actress Audra McDonald,

“Imogen Heap.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 13 Feb. 2023,

“Joni Mitchell.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 13 Mar. 2023,

Kale, Sirin. “Sama' Abdulhadi: Palestine's Techno Champion.”, 22 June 2021,

“Kate Bush.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 7 Mar. 2023,

“Sama' Abdulhadi • Biography.” RA,

“Totó La Momposina.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 19 Nov. 2022,

Valerie June,

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