11 Songs That Represent Black History Month
It’s that time of the year again – Black History Month – where we celebrate all things in Blackness, and what’s another better way than to provide a soundtrack. So, here’s a list of Black Rebel Representation tracks for the soul.
1 – Kendrick Lamar – Alright
Standout line: Alls My Life I Has to FIGHT, Ninja!!!!
Yes, it’s a line initially from the classic The Color Purple film, but name a person in authentic Blackness, whether they’re from the hood or the suburbs that don’t understand, and if they don’t, they’re in the Sunken Place.
2 – Queen Latifah – U.N.I.T.Y.
Standout line: Who You Callin a B***?!!
Yes, we all know the classic hook. Yes, we all as a community should come together for progress. But the moment you hear the Queen ask that question, it’s the voice of Black women telling us Black men that she’s not tolerating any disrespect.
3 – Solange – Don’t Touch My Hair
Standout line: What You Say to Me?
If you’re a white person who still feels so infatuated with Black hair that you feel the need to physically reach over and touch another human being’s hair as if they’re a chia pet, you deserve whatever Blacklash that may come your way.
4 – Rapsody – Afeni
Standout Line: Either way, we got your back; we only pray you’ll be our muscle.
First, North Carolina MC Rapsody is one of my Top Five artists alive. Second, this is another track where a Black woman asks us, Black men, to treat them respectfully. Get the hint?!!
5 – Jay-Z – The Story of OJ
Standout line: I’m Not Black I’m OJ.
Although it’s not an original Hov line, it resonates for any person of color who mistakenly thinks their wealth or social status excludes them from racism.
6 – Joey Bada$$ – Land of the Free
Standout line: In the land of the free, it’s full of freeloaders.
Joey Bada$$ doesn’t get enough credit for being an underrated MC and a solid actor (check Power Book 3: Raising Kanan). Joey’s Freeloader comment does not refer to a houseguest who overstayed their welcome but to all descendants of American colonizers living in a country built from the free labor of the 1619 ancestors.
7 – Beyonce ft. Kendrick Lamar – Freedom
Standout Line: I break chains all by myself, Won’t let my freedom rot in Hell.
Black freedom doesn’t have to fight on a holiday or on an I Have a Dream stage, but every small place, every day of the week.
8 – Nina Simone – Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood
Standout line: Cause I’m just a soul whose intentions are good. Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood.
Now, I’m not claiming or changing the song’s intention, but I know I feel this way whenever I’m pulled over by the police.
9 – Kanye West – We Major
Standout line: WE MAJOR!!!
Do yourself a favor every morning by taking an excellent Black look in the mirror, telling your good Black self that WE MAJOR, and then having a fantastic Black day.
10 – Nas – If I Ruled the World (Imagine That)
Standout line: The better living, type of place to raise kids in!!!
Nothing says Black History Month like the imagination of a Black utopia.
11 – Sam Cooke – A Change Is Gonna Come
Standout line: Oh, and just like the river, I’ve been runnin ever since
A song about the Black struggle and the everyday passion of living for a better day is the DNA of the American Black experience.
J Hall is a Detroit bred Howard Bison multimedia culture critic. An abstract thinker who believes “You ain’t wrong when you’re right,” and that his mother’s cupcakes are legendary. Check out his slight worldwide view here: https://linktr.ee/jhall