A revolution is upon us. And it is long overdue.

America loves Black culture — music, fashion, slang, comedy, food, the list goes on. But at the same time, racially motivated violence and acts of hate continue after generations of abuse. How many more times must a Black person in America die for change to happen? We ask that EVERY SINGLE TIME it happens. The time is up, Black lives matter and change is now.

As a Latina woman, I’ve had and continue to have my own hurdles to face but I’ll never fully understand the battle that Black lives face — the generations of abuse turned into institutionalized racism, the fear while doing everyday errands that someone will think I’m a threat, the heartbreaking task of having to explain to kids how to respond to a police officer. I have so much to educate myself on about Black history, but I am eager and working on it.

Naturally, I want to participate in the conversation with the beloved common language that communicates on a profound level: music.

From what I know about the history of American music, it’s basically been built by Black artists. Listen to episode 3 of the New York Times podcast 1619 for more on that.

If I’m honest, I only really know Black artists popularized by white people. By that I mean the music played on oldies radio and Top 40 pop. There are so many wonderful Black artists that innovate and weave stories of their experiences that I don’t know about, from history and now. Places like Tik Tok, Instagram, and Spotify have opened the doors for me to discover their music. I put together this list of songs by contemporary and indie Black artists that I’ve discovered with stories I want to amplify. Like I said, I’m still learning so if you have any artist recommendations or if you are an independent artist, send music my way. I want to support by amplifying your voices.

I will be highlighting Black artists in upcoming playlists on the blog that celebrate the history of American music.


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