10 Songs To Keep You Hopeful In The Movement For Black Lives

Jay-Z_I_Got_The_Keys_SpiritualIt’s been a hard week. It’s been a hard month. It’s been hard for a long time. In this fight for liberation, we all need something to recharge us and arm us for the battles ahead. And what better than music to serve that purpose.

The larger the movement has grown in prominence, the more voices had added themselves to the cause. Actor Jesse Williams delivered the more woke acceptance speech in history at the 2016 BET Awards. Beyonce has deepened her investment in black lives from donating funds and asking to remain anonymous to posting a heartfelt liberation message in the header of her website. And recently, Viacom blocked an hour of its programming on MTV, BET, VH1, and more to air a town hall regarding police brutality. These same efforts can be found within the music industry.

I’ve compiled a list of 10 songs that speak to the movement for black lives, whether to comfort or to show solidarity. BJ The Chicago Kid, a favorite around these parts, was chosen to do a duet with the one and only Marvin Gaye for the 45th anniversary of “What’s Going On” and it couldn’t come at a better time. The magic their voices make together is uncanny. In that same vein, Jazmine Sullivan’s rendition of “Baltimore” from Nina Revisited … A Tribute to Nina Simone has that same classic made new feeling that speaks to the tension on our streets.

Two Lauryn Hill recordings made the list with the official studio version of “Rebel” from her MTV Unplugged album and “Black Rage”, a song set to the standard “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music fame, about the plethora of factors that feed into black rage. And J. Cole’s “Be Free” is a poignant plea for simple freedom.

Listen to the playlist below!


Photo credit: YouTube

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Daren W. Jackson

Daren is one half of the Water Cooler Convos team. He's a writer, music connoisseur, and comic book geek who spends his free time working on his novel and other short stories.