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Black Music For Activism

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Throughout history, Black artists have captured the joy and sorrow of the Black experience through music. As a result, music has been at the center of efforts to raise awareness of and fight for issues important to Black people, like voting rights and social justice. Below are three mini-playlists featuring just a fraction of the music by Black artists that is rooted in activism, hopefulness, and Black joy.  

Calling Out Injustice 

Black artists have used music to express the atrocities against Black people and call for a change.  

  • Strange Fruit x Billie Holiday 

  • Mississippi Goddam x Nina Simone  

  • Be Free x J. Cole 

  • Right on for the Darkness x Curtis Mayfield  

  • Freedom x Beyonce and Kendrick Lamar  

Bringing Hope 

Despite what feels like an endless fight against racism and the intersecting issues that Black people face, Black music has been an instrument for survival and hopefulness.  

  • A Change Is Gonna Come x Sam Cooke  

  • Optimistic x Sounds of Blackness  

  • Someday We’ll All Be Free x Donny Hathaway  

  • Keep Your Head to The Sky x Earth Wind and Fire  

Celebrating Blackness 

But most of all, Black music has been a source of joy and celebration. Having the audacity to be joyful, proud, and Black despite ongoing oppression is not always easy, but music always helps.  

  • To Be Young, Gifted and Black x Nina Simone  

  • Got to Give It Up x Marvin Gaye 

  • Joy and Pain x Maze and Frankie Beverly   

Share your favorite songs by Black artists that activate you with us on social, and check out our full playlist on Spotify!  

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