music we love ~ black history month

February 2023

As Black History Month comes to an end, February’s ‘Music We Love’ features a mix of old and new Black musicians who laid the roots down for nearly every genre we know and love modern-day. “Every genre that is born from America has Black roots associated with it, from rock ‘n’ roll to blues to disco,” Madden said. “The fingerprints of Black creators are all over what makes American music so unique.” To learn more about this, check out this article from NBC News. 

‘Strange Fruit’ by Billie Holiday

This song is unsettling but brutally honest and delivered with somber beauty. It has been upcycled, sampled, and remixed into lots of modern day music. Nina Simone and Billie Holiday both recorded the song, so we included both of those as well as an example of a re-imagined version.

Everybody Loves the Sunshine- Roy Ayers Ubiquity

“Just bees and things and flowers…” I mean does this song ever get old? Another song heavily sampled in later music, this iconic, wavy, feel-good song will always be met with gratitude when played over speakers.

The Charade – D’Angelo and the Vanguard

14 years since his last music release, D’Angelo came back with something so soulful, raw, and healing. The whole album is amazing, with standout tracks like ‘Sugah Daddy’ and ‘The Door.’ ‘Charade’ discusses oppression and the need for Black protest, unity, and togetherness to fight.

Doo Wop (That Thing) – Lauryn Hill

Lauryn Hill is one of the best songwriters of all time, with a silky smooth voice for singing and rapping and ultra catchy and clever lyrics. This 1998 hit combines r&b, hip hop, and soul, solidifying the world’s excitement for one of the greatest albums of all time, ‘The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.”

Fight Like Ida B and Marsha P- Disco Ric

Chicago’s own Ric Wilson, aka Disco Ric, released this track in 2020 with one main idea attached. “The liberation of Black womxn and Black trans womxn lead to the liberation of all Black people.”

Sweeter- Leon Bridges

Aside the brilliant Terrence Martin, Bridges delivers a hard hitter that was meant for a later album, but Bridges decided to release early in light of George Floyd’s death.

Alright- Kendrick Lamar

At the end of 2015, when this song hit the internet, people lost their minds. New York Times declared this track “the unifying soundtrack to Black Lives Matter protests nationwide.”

Sources from:

A Black History Month Playlist: 10 Influential Songs | BestColleges

25 songs for Black History Month: James Brown, Billie Holiday and more (

25 songs by Black women that rocked the music world (

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