If I had to sum up my condition over the last few weeks, it’d be exhaustion. I’m tired. I told a friend this week that my soul feels like it needs to hibernate. Not only in grieving for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Tony McDade but also in viewing what feels like hundreds of accounts of hotheaded police officers violently attacking protesters who are demonstrating against police violence. Once again, I’m forced to confront the reality that I’m not as free as I’ve been led to believe. That our system is broken. That people want me dead, due to no fault of my own.
Before, during, and after times of hardship, many in the Black community create art to take in the pain and struggle and release a beauty that heals and teaches. Black creatives are always working, trying to find some understanding, envisioning a better world. Some of my most pleasant moments in the past few weeks were when a close friend and I just listened to music. We sat in its energy, each new song reflecting on our reality. We’d jump from Erykah Badu to 21 Savage to Rico Nasty to Buju Banton then back around again. From R&B classics to trap to gospel. Each twist in the playlist turns a new page in our own stories.
Here’s a selection of works that have been of service to me and some people to whom I think you should pay attention. Some of these I’ve loved for a while, other things I’ve only discovered recently. I hope you find something here that speaks to you or at least livens up your day.