As the Black Lives Matter movement continues to rally support across the world, I have aimed to shift my content focus onto the movement. Thus, for this week’s installment of my Friday Favorites segment, I have chosen songs by black artists that reflect the spirit of the movement and remind us what we’re fighting for.
Sandra’s Smile – Blood Orange
A really powerful, haunting ode to victims of police violence, specifically in reference to Sandra Bland and Trayvon Martin, and their families. Blood Orange vocalist Dev Hynes reflected on being “inconsolable” after Bland’s death and the track reflects this.
Alright – Kendrick Lamar
This song is one of the most memorable from the iconic album To Pimp A Butterfly. Beyond the surface of the track as a catchy rap song is Lamar’s reflection on the treatment of black Americans including police brutality and identity conflicts caused by mistreatment. The hook to the song repeats “We gon’ be alright,” asserting that despite suffering, we will survive through solidarity.
Mad (ft. Lil Wayne) – Solange
Solange has created a breadth of music relating to the experiences of a black woman in America, especially highlighted in this track. It reflects the injustices of the system combined with the inability of non-black individuals to understand these issues and the frustration felt by the black community.
Be Free – J. Cole
This song addresses the continued discrimination of black Americans, beginning with slavery and continuing with mass incarceration, police brutality, and oppression. Cole includes a chilling testimony by Dorian Johnson, who witnessed his friend being shot multiple times by police.
Freedom (ft. Kendrick Lamar) – Beyoncé
Beyoncé’s Lemonade was focused around the struggles and emotions of the black woman. This song specifically focuses on liberation. Even within the current movement, the struggles of black women are largely underrepresented. Beyoncé calls us to action in rallying behind the Black Lives Matter and actively working against oppression and injustice.
I hope you all were informed by this list. As usual, you can find all of my Friday Favorites at WKNC’s Spotify page, including this week’s new additions.