February marks the start of historical celebration. A celebration of evolution and growth. Creation and invention. Birth and rebirth. Divergence and desegregation. A month-long tip-of-the-hat to the contributions Black people have made to the world. Of those many contributions, music is one of the most significant and consistent. From the Negro spirituals of the plantations to Mississippi down home Blues to Motown and hip hop, music has been connected to the heart of the Black experience. A heart that pumps through its veins pain, love, courage, strength, victory, oppression, consciousness. Life. A heart that pushes all of these experiences to every part of the global body.
The beautiful thing about music is regardless of the language, place of origin, or era of creation, its universal. It has crossed lines that journalists and commentators and great debaters have, at times, not been able to cross. It has opened doors and established relationships that otherwise would have been virtually unthinkable. It has created the soundtrack (and fuel) for movements of liberation and love. It speaks directly to the soul. And we’ve been communicating with the world through song for thousands of years. From our cues, artists have constructed entire genres of music that have changed lives. And although we haven’t always gotten the recognition that’s due, our influence is undeniable and irrevocable.
Common – I Am Music
“…you can feel me all over, I’m live. I help cultures survive, I’ve opened the eyes of many…”
Duke Ellington and John Coltrane – In a Sentimental Mood
What would you add to the playlist? What songs represent our impact on the culture?