“Just as surely as you are proud to be White, we’re proud to be Black. Black is beautiful, baby. It’s pretty… Black power means dignity. It means we are going to walk side by side with you or through you with dignity and integrity. We don’t want anymore than you have and we’re not going to accept any less than you have. That’s Black power.” – Adam Clayton Powell Jr.
Kanye West once warned us that “racism is still alive.” And boy, was he right. Everyday interactions with “Karens” or police officers that go wrong, the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on certain communities and Confederate flags being waved freely at Black Lives Matter protests and insurrections are just a few of the constant reminders for many Black people in America that their Blackness is inescapable. That Blackness, however, is also beautiful and bold, and artists from Billie Holiday to Beyoncé have continued to remind us of that.
Long before Juneteenth was officially recognized as a holiday, Black musicians have been celebrating their people’s freedoms, beauty, heritage and achievements with their music. Timeless records and contemporary hits have highlighted Black girls that rock and neighborhood hustlers that level up to boss status for their resistance and resilience. In times of social unrest, leading stars have used their platforms to protest inequality and confront unjust realities. “Say it loud! I’m Black and I’m proud,” sung James Brown in his 1968 hit “Say It Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud.”
Celebrate Black history, Black culture and Black progression this month and every other month. Stay inspired with our Black is Power playlist.