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Black woman in cafe enjoying music

It’s June, which is when Black Music Month is celebrated. I never need a reason to listen to music, so I just use this month to delve deep into my crates and curate new playlists.

I decided to create a short list of songs that make my Blackness shine from the inside out. I picked the first ten songs that came to mind because there is no shortage of tunes to choose from, and I didn’t want to give y’all a list of 200 songs.

Every song on this list evokes a specific memory or emotion. They all make me smile, drift down memory lane, and hit quick two-step. Now, these titles may seem unrelated, but the theme is BLACKNESS. If you do not already have one, I encourage you to create your own Blackity-Black Mixtape and see if we share any titles.

Optimistic, Sounds of Blackness

Talk about a feel-good jam. You can’t help but to move when this beat comes in. I classify this one as a new-age spiritual.

Young, Gifted, & Black, Aretha Franklin

You want to see a group of people turn into choir??? Play this song. From baby showers to brunch this song still bangs. This song solidified Tevin as a legend in the community.

Tell Me, Dru Hill

If there was ever a time to show that you still got ‘IT’, it’s when this song is played. If they don’t at least attempt the dance, question their placement in your life. Dru Hill was different. There’s something about the chokers, dragons, and drama of their videos that just worked. It oozed a different kind of Blackness.

Mo Money Mo Problems, Notorious B.I.G.

This is the only Christopher we acknowledge. He gifted us with this luxurious sounding hit. As a kid, seeing these visuals made me fall in love with rap and Black men. I wanted to Diddy-bop on a yacht too!

Computer Love, Zapp & Roger

This one I love strictly for the sound of it. It’s like sitting in an audio time machine that resembles a        high-backed wicker chair. I can see my fly and flashy kinfolk now…

Caught Up In the Rapture, Anita Baker

This is peak Auntie right here. Anita wraps you up and tucks you into your Blackness. Whether you are up cleaning or reminiscing about a love that was there isn’t a better way to be surrounded by sound.

You Will Know, Black Men United

This one is purely for the wholesome feelings. It’s a bop for sure, but the who’s who of Black men and uplifting message just makes me feel warm.

Young, Gifted, & Black, Aretha Franklin

I know this ain’t the only version. As much as I adore Ms. Simone, Re-Re just sends me with hers. I swell up with pride and play every time I have a challenging day.

Umi Says, Yasiin Bey (Mos Def)

Now, this is queued up when I’m in my conscious bag but still want to groove. Mos gave us an ancestral knowledge anthem.

Real Love, Mary J. Blige

Ooooo, now you can’t sit there and tell me this beat does not make you move! Mary gave us all we needed with this one. She was unapologetic about who she was and made me want to be her kind of New York B-girl Black.

Do It, Chloe X Halle

This is a new song. This dynamic duo makes me hug my sisters tighter when I see them. They make me wish I could sing! The way their voices blend is otherworldly and this song definitely makes me want to be cute and the club so I can show off my bad Black self, lol.

Bodak Yellow, Cardi B

Last, but certainly not least is Cardi. She took a page from Biggie’s book and gave us a rags-to-riches story. She went from ‘ashy to classy’ and I have enjoyed watching her star rise. Cardi makes me feel like I can scam, strip and then come home and meal prep for my day job in nonprofits. Baby, that’s duality and ain’t that what being Black in America is?

I hope these songs provide a dance break in your day and give you an extra reason to embrace your Blackness today.

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