Hillary Clinton just wrote a powerful love letter to women in music

Hillary Clinton has long-joked about being a “pantsuit aficionado,” but who knew the presidential hopeful had an affinity for pop music, too? In a somewhat unexpected move, the former Secretary of State has penned a thoughtful essay on Women in Music for Billboard magazine’s annual issue on the subject.

“The great Loretta Lynn once said that to make it in the music business, ‘You either have to be first, best or different,’” Clinton writes. “That’s true for all of this year’s Women in Music honorees, Ms. Lynn included.”

It’s true, many of this year’s honorees set records or firsts: Loretta Lynn was the first woman to have 50-plus Top 10 hits while Billboard’s Woman of the Year, Lady Gaga, claims that spot as the first musician, of either gender, to rack up a billion views on Youtube.

“[T]hey’re the best at what they do, whether that’s fronting a raucous soul band, ­writing ­hypnotic dance anthems, unspooling intricate rap lyrics about female empowerment or crooning ballads about heartbreak and young love,” writes Clinton. “Their talent is dazzling. So is their work ethic. None of these women had success handed to her.”

Though Clinton admits that some of this year’s honorees are recent discoveries for her (read: Selena Gomez and Fifth Harmony), she sees a common, timeless thread in all their stories: None of them let a little negativity get in the way of their success—success that they’re putting to good use now.

“They all had to keep at it, even in the face of failure and discouragement — they kept ­singing, kept writing, kept getting better and better,” she continues. “They did it because they knew they had something ­special to offer the world. They knew their stories and points of view were worth ­sharing…and they’re making it count in the best of ways.”

Sounds an awful lot like a pep talk for running a presidential campaign, doesn’t it?

The women Clinton congratulates, including Missy Elliott, Lana Del Rey, Demi Lovato, and a handful of this year’s most popular entertainers, will be honored at Billboard’s Women In Music ceremony, which airs on Lifetime on December 18. With the backing of the woman who could possibly be our next president, there’s really nothing stopping them from continuing to kick butt.

“My hope is that women and girls around the world will hear these artists’ songs, learn their stories and feel a greater sense of ­possibility for their own lives. Maybe they’ll recognize ­themselves in these women. Maybe they’ll be inspired to reach toward their own dreams with greater urgency,” Clinton concludes. “Maybe they’ll stand a little straighter or speak a little louder because that’s what Gaga and Missy and Brittany and Tori and Selena and Demi and Kelsea and Lana and Ally and Normani and Lauren and Camilla and Dinah and Loretta would do. And if none of that happens, who knows — maybe they’ll just dance.”

Read Hillary’s entire essay here.

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