The Empowering Meaning Behind “Girls Need Love” by Summer Walker (featuring Drake)

Summer Walker has a story to tell. In person, she’s shy and rarely does interviews, but her bashfulness disappears when she sings.  

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“Girls Need Love” is an empowering anthem for women wanting to tell their own stories in pop culture. Walker’s music combines modern alternative R&B and ’90s nostalgia, and it plays like a soap opera with fresh, chaotic, real-life honesty.

She used to scrub houses, but now she purges demons and cleans souls.

Love Making

Walker’s R&B jam “Girls Need Love” is pure seduction. Walker wants attention and sex, and she’s not blushing about it. Like Mary J. Blige before her, Walker is straightforward and raw.

Honestly, I’m tryna stay focused
You must think I’ve got to be joking when I say
I don’t think I can wait
I just need it now
Better swing my way
I just need some d–k
I just need some love

She laments culture’s old views on women when she sings: Girls can’t never say they want it / Girls can’t never say how.

When Drake arrives on the “Girls Need Love – Remix,” he answers her call for sex.

You just need some, someone that’s calm and patient
Submission, domination
Arched back, deep stroke, white wine, weed smoke, that’s my best combination

Drake matches Walker’s bluntness while acknowledging the disparities between how men and women are viewed in conversations about sex.

A Powerful Voice for Young Black Women

Sean Famoso McNichol—co-founder of Walker’s record label—spoke about the positive reaction to Walker’s message: “It’s very rare that the culture and the mainstream agree with each other, especially in the beginning. Usually, things are grassroots and bubbling for a year, and it finally catches. This is the first time in a long time that we’ve seen the culture and mainstream walk hand in hand.”


Walker’s debut mixtape, Last Day of Summer (2018), featured the original version of “Girls Need Love.” The single, released by McNichol’s Atlanta-based label LVRN (short for Love Renaissance) and Interscope Records, introduced the Atlanta singer and reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Bubbling Under/R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart.

After the remix version with Drake, Walker earned 1 billion streams and hadn’t yet released her first album.

With increased attention from Drake, Summer Walker’s early success with “Girls Need Love” built momentum leading up to her 2019 debut studio album Over It, peaking at No. 2 on the Billboard 200. It was the biggest debut album by an R&B female artist in over a decade.

At the time, Walker set the record for the biggest streaming debut for a female R&B artist.

But Walker was only beginning. Her second album, Still Over It, followed two years later. Buoyed by guest appearances from Cardi B, SZA, Pharrell Williams, and Ciara, among others, Still Over It debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.

From Housekeeper to “It” Girl

Two years before Last Day of Summer’s release, Walker ran a cleaning business and worked as an exotic dancer in Atlanta. But Walker was restless, and when she wasn’t cleaning or dancing, she learned the guitar by watching YouTube tutorials.

She posted cover songs online and told Billboard, “I started singing because I wanted to figure out ways to make money in [a] comfortable and creative way.”

Google Yourself

LVRN’s studio manager happens to share her name with Summer Walker. One day, while Googling herself, she discovered videos Walker had posted on YouTube and Vine. The small label hadn’t signed a female singer yet.

McNichol recalled Walker entering the offices with a guitar and her story of dancing and cleaning houses. He signed the future star, and with LVRN’s support, she’s become part of a generation of young female artists countering the sexualized lyrics of male artists.

A similar movement has happened in Spanish-language music, currently dominating the charts. Female artists now define themselves and tell their own stories about love, sex, and relationships.

How Did Drake Hear It?

“Girls Need Love” already had industry buzz with radio and traction on streaming services. Drake heard the song in a bowling alley and sent Walker a direct message through Instagram.

Walker co-wrote and co-produced “Girls Need Love” with Arsenio Archer, and Drake wrote his rap for the remixed version. The single is certified six-time Platinum by the RIAA.

Honestly Fearless

Summer Walker connects because she’s honest and relatable, as seen on her Instagram account, where she shares her anxieties openly with her 1.3 million followers.

Though her story of dancing and cleaning is full of messy trials, her voice is moving and immaculate.

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Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for TV One

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