RED Hearts: This Girl is on Fire

girl_on_fireRED Hearts are guest posts on I Heart Daily from the authors of RED: Teenage girls in America write on what fires up their lives today. Today’s RED Hearts post is from RED author Jessica Goodman, 22, in Los Angeles who sings the praises of Alicia Keys's "Girl on Fire":

Every once in a while a song comes out that creates a movement, a “Call Me Maybe” or “Gangnam Style” we can’t seem to get enough of. These songs catch on for a reason. They have a beat, a common message, or just hilarious new dance moves. Yet one amazing and enlightening song, “Girl On Fire” by Alicia Keys, offers so much more than that. It recognizes all the tough things we as girls and women do.

As musically irresistible as it is culturally important, and by an artist who’s proved she’s anything but a one-hit wonder, “Girl on Fire” has been grabbing some attention -- but not enough, not covered-by-Cookie-Monster or at international Psy-levels. I personally think everyone out there should sing praise to Keys for her genius take on the power of girls and women to overcome obstacles and prove ourselves.

The lyrics make it easy for any girl to relate: “Looks like a girl, but she’s a flame/So bright, she can burn your eyes/Better look the other way/You can try but you’ll never forget her name. She’s on top of the world.” It’s a strong message: This girl could be anyone. This girl could be you. Others see and admire her intelligence, her courage, her dedication -- her fire. “Everybody stands as she goes by.”

But the song tells a larger story, too. It shows you how far women have come. Keys debuted the song at her 2012 VMA performance, where she had Gabby Douglas up there doing flips, a perfect tribute to a year in which Yahoo named their first female CEO and our country elected a record number of women to serve in Congress.

Keys created an anthem that tells the world every woman and every girl has her challenges. This song is something to take into the new year, when you work on becoming a bigger and better version of yourself. It’s your reminder that 2013 has barely begun, and there’s so much that can (and will) happen. You know as well as Keys does that there’s nothing diminutive about that “just” in “She’s just a girl, and she’s on fire.”

RED Hearts guest poster Jessica Goodman is an author of RED: Teenage girls in America write on what fires up their lives today, which is out in paperback.