John Lennon used to say that music could save the world. He also said Brian Epstein was a “fag Jew” and that “woman is the nigger of the world,” so we probably shouldn’t take everything he says too seriously. Still, I agree that music has a transformative effect on our society. If music can truly change the world, why can’t it help end racism? Now, I’m not talking about some country song where a redneck talks about how much he likes getting it on with black girls if he’s had enough beer. I mean songs that speak to unique black experiences.
In that vein, I created a playlist that I think will help new anti-racists understand a few things about being black in America. Feel free to take this list and give it to all your friends who just realized that racism didn’t end in 1969. This won’t instantly make them quality allies, but it’ll at least help ease them into their new life choice.
- Jay-Z – 99 Problems
- Kanye West – Crack Music
- Gil Scott Heron – Comment No. 1
- J. Cole – Blow Up
- Tupac – Changes
- M.I.A. – Sunshowers
- The Throne – Murder to Excellence
- Eminem – White America
- Lauryn Hill – Mystery of Inequity
- Notorious B.I.G. – Juicy
- Nina Simone – Strange Fruit
- Nas – If I Ruled the World
- Lil Wayne – Misunderstood