Words: Michelle Marchiori
As Black History Month comes to a close, here’s LDN’s pick of meaningful songs to share and inspire.
Freedom (feat. Kendrick Lamar) – Beyoncé
The whole ‘Lemonade’ album fixates on Black women’s strength, and this song is another example. Beyoncé and Kendrick allude to the history of slavery and connect it to today’s social justice movements, focusing on the power of Black women who break free from societal bonds.
Warrior (from A Wrinkle in Time) – Chloe x Halle
From the soundtrack to the movie ‘A Wrinkle In Time’, the song is an empowering anthem from women all around the world. And as Chloe and Halle themselves say, they got the inspiration from the amazing POC women who have surrounded them for all of their lives.
A Change Is Gonna Come – Sam Cooke
This classic from 1964 was written by Cooke, who was inspired by a personal incident, where the artist and a few friends were denied access to an ‘all-white’ motel in Louisiana. He wrote the song as a protest song to support the Black community in the fight for equality.
This Is America – Childish Gambino
The focus of this song is gun violence in America and how people own guns even for ‘entertainment’. However, it addresses other social issues that are a result of systemic racism and discrimination.
Glory (From the Motion Picture Selma) – Common, John Legend
Written for the film ‘Selma’, this song details various historical social injustices and compares them to present events. The film shows Martin Luther King Jr’s march from Selma to Montgomery, and the song celebrates people who fought social injustice in the past and in the current era too.
Don’t Touch My Hair (feat. Sampha) – Solange
With this song Solange Knowles encapsulates the frustration of Black women when they are diminished to objects for their hairstyles. Moreover, the same hairstyles can be deemed as “attention-seeking” and even “not professional” on Black women, are then identified as “trendy” on everyone else.
Respect – Aretha Franklin
In this 1967 classic – a cover of an Otis Redding song – Aretha Franklin demands nothing but respect for a young and independent Black woman. The song has not only become a symbol of empowerment for Black women everywhere, but also for the entire Black community who are repeatedly disrespected and marginalised.
Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe – Kendrick Lamar
This one is a bit different, with this song Kendrick wanted to convey his unhappiness with the state of rap music and talks about his career. However, it has been used in many protests and people have started associating it with people marching in their fight for inequality.
The Charade – D’Angelo
D’Angelo tackles deep themes such as protests, politics, and social injustice. Even though it was released eight years ago, this song is still relevant and an anthem that screams for social change.
Black Like Me – Mickey Guyton
Guyton gets really personal in this song, where she talks about her own experience as growing up as a Black woman, and current being the only Black woman signed to a major country label.
Black Boy Joy – Daz Rinko
In this song Daz Rinko explores his Black identity and his personal experience of becoming successful in the music industry, never forgetting his roots and his integrity.
Black – Dave
In the last song of the playlist Dave lays out many issues that the Black community has to face, however he also highlights the positive aspects of being Black. The song is concluded with him stating that he is proud and honoured of being Black.
Listen to our full playlist on Spotify here.