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By Intisar Seraaj

Photo by Shane Aldendorff from Pexels.

It’s already been an emotional year because of the international pandemic of COVID-19. On top of that, the past several weeks have been full of Black Lives Matter protests, now-recorded displays of racism worldwide, and the worldwide awakening to the fact that racism is still a current global issue. We’re starting to see some changes with controversial statues being removed, some states making symbolic changes to represent all residents and not just the history of some, some cities strategizing on how to redistribute police funding, businesses are taking a stance on what they will and won’t stand for among employee representation, and more. It’s a lot to keep up with.

History books take time to write and are often written in a subjective way. Luckily, we live in an era where the internet allows us to have news faster than newspapers and have easier access to news archives than brick-and-mortar libraries. Articles, especially op-eds, and thought-provoking blogs that have been capturing the emotional state of current world happenings. Music has been doing the same thing.

Photo by Oleg Magni from Pexels.

Many artists have been quickly putting out new songs to reflect the times, similarly to how music has always been used to do since olden times. For a current example, Beyoncé gave us the gift of “Black Parade” on Juneteenth. Even centuries ago, Negro Spirituals were used to preserve enslaved African’s identity and culture and used as actual roadmaps to freedom. In the ’50s and ’60s, music captured the emotion and occurrences the of Civil Rights Movement and helped combat segregation and Jim Crow laws. Every major shift in culture has had music to support the movement, aid in creating change, and to later be a historical account. We’re seeing that happen now even with artists who haven’t before been vocal about such significant topics. Take a look at some of those songs on this Tidal playlist.

Photo by Brett Sayles from Pexels.

Besides the fact that this newly released music is representative of what’s happening around the world, especially in America, it’s been largely released during June, which is African American Music Appreciation Month. In 1979, the U.S. declared June as a time to celebrate the contributions of African Americans to music. If you’ve been following us on social media, you’ll see we’ve been sharing a song from Black artists every day that speaks to the current times. Check out our African American Music Appreciation Month playlist below.

  1. “Don’t Touch My Hair” – Solange ft. Sampha
  2. “What’s Going On” – Marvin Gaye
  3. “U, Black Maybe” – Common
  4. “Say It Loud I’m Black and I’m Proud” – James Brown
  5. “A Change is Gonna Come” – Same Cooke
  6. “Lean on Me” – Bull Withers
  7. “Love Train” – The O’Jays
  8. “Freedom” – Pharrell Williams
  9. “They Don’t Care About Us” – Michael Jackson
  10. “Ooh Child (Things Are Gonna Get Easier)” – The Five Stairsteps
  11. “Say It Loud” – Kool Moe Dee
  12. “Keep Ya Head Up” – Tupac
  13. “Respect” – Aretha Franklin
  14. “Wake Up Everybody” – John Legend, The Roots ft. Melanie Fiona, Common
  15. “I Gotta Find Peace of Mind” – Lauryn Hill
  16. “Stand Up For Something” – Andra Day ft. Common
  17. “MY POWER” – Beyoncé
  18. “I Am Not My Hair” – India.Arie ft. Akon
  19. “Move On Up” – Curtis Mayfield
  20. “We Shall Overcome” – Morehouse College Glee Club
  21. “Tennessee” – Arrested Development
  22. “Higher Ground” – Stevie Wonder
  23. “Brown Skin Girl” – Beyoncé ft. Blue Ivy Carter, Wizkid & SAINt JHN
  24. “Brotha” – Angie Stone
  25. “Fight the Power, Pts. 1 & 2” – The Isley Brothers
  26. “Cult Of Personality” – Living Colour
  27. “DNA” – Kendrick Lamar
  28. “Keep Your Head Up” – Chaka Khan
  29. “This Is America” – Childish Gambino
  30. “Lift Every Voice” – Beyoncé
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