black lives matter songs

5 Songs That Sum Up What It's Like To Be Black In America Right Now

We gon' be alright!


Six years after the death of Trayvon Martin and four years after the last words of Eric Garner were echoed into American history, not much has changed. Police officers are still murdering unarmed black people at will, and carefree black folk are treated as America's biggest problem (next to innocent immigrant children, of course.)

The revolution is so overdue that black artists have begun once again to voice their political and social opinions through their music and many of their songs have become movement-mood-music.

Here are 5 songs that pretty much sum up what it's like to be black in America.

1. "Don't Touch My Hair" by Solange.

Solange in Don't Touch My Hair Solange in Don't Touch My Hair

This beautiful song from Solange's latest album, "A Seat At The Table," is a double entendre of sorts. One could interpret it's literal meaning of, "bish, I'm not a petty zoo animal. don't touch my fukn hair," as every black woman has had to say to a non-black person at least a handful of times in their life. Or one could look at is deeper meaning of staying true to ones self in a time where self-expression, self-love and pushing boundaries seems to be frowned upon by those who want you to like in a box, as they have chosen to do. Truth is, a lot of older people were sold a lie. They were told that if they stayed within the confines of gender "norms," always opted for reality over creativity and only did what was necessary to please others, they would live their best life. Turns out shit hit the fan when their entire lives passed them by and they spent almost all of it not being true to themselves or doing what their hearts wanted.

Solange has always embraced her creative spirit though her artistry and fashion and had been the epitome of #BlackGirlMagic.

2. "Freedom" by Beyonce ft. Kendrick Lamar.

Michael Brown Lesley McSpadden (Mother of Michael Brown) in "Lemonade"

Of course Solange's big sister, Beyonce, would make this list. "Freedom," from Bey's 6th solo album, "Lemonade," is an anthem of resilience. The biggest theme of the song, self reliance.

I'ma riot, I'ma riot through your borders/Call me bulletproof

I break chains all by myself/Won't let my freedom rot in hell
Hey! I'ma keep running/Cause a winner don't quit on themselves

The lyrics reminds me of Jessie Williams' 2016 BET speech, where he says,

What is going to happen is, we are going to have equal rights and justice on our own country or we will restructure their function and ours

Beyonce's collaboration with rapper Kendrick Lamar is a rally to black folk. We have wanted long enough for the government to grow moral fibers and do right by our people. The time is now for black people to force a revolution.

3. "Alright" by Kendrick Lamar.

Alright Kendrick Lamar in "Alright"

Kendrick Lamar's song became one of the official, unofficial songs of the Black Lives Matter Movement as protesters often chant his lyric, "We gon' be alright." Alongside powerful lyrics, Lamar offered up an even more powerful video with nods to the massacre victims of the Emanuel AME Church in South Carolina, Sam DuBose and Aiyana Jones. The video doesn't just reference those unarmed lives taken by police, but those taken by racists our government protects.

Wouldn't you know
We been hurt, been down before
Nigga, when our pride was low
Lookin' at the world like, "Where do we go?"
Nigga, and we hate po-po
Wanna kill us dead in the street fo sho'
Nigga, I'm at the preacher's door
My knees gettin' weak, and my gun might blow
But we gon' be alright'

4. "Glory" by Common & John Legend.

Selma Movie Cast of "Selma"

Glory was written for the Academy Award contending film "Selma," that chronicled the historic marches across the Edmund Pettus Bridge linking Montgomery to Selma. This beautiful song written by Common and Legend ties the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's to today's fight for equal rights and social justice.

Justice for all just ain't specific enough
One son died, his spirit is revisitin' us
Truant livin' livin' in us, resistance is us
That's why Rosa sat on the bus
That's why we walk through Ferguson with our hands up
When it go down we woman and man up
They say, "Stay down", and we stand up
Shots, we on the ground, the camera panned up
King pointed to the mountain top and we ran up

5. This Is America by Childish Gambino.

This Is America Childish Gambino in "This Is America"

"This Is America" is a four-minute video laden with with imagery and metaphors of race and gun violence in America. Though hard to watch, the provocative video is a mirror of American's sometimes deadly and sometimes nonchalant attitude when it comes to the issues of race and gun violence.

The video starts of with an upbeat tune to the words, "We just wanna party," but the party ends abruptly as a black man playing his guitar suddenly appears in a straitjacket and is gunned down.

Gambino calls out America's nasty habit of pretending everything is fine while failing to pass common sense gun laws and it's complicity in numerous shootings of unarmed black people by cops and by racists. The video's intense imaginary includes that of the massacre at the African AME church and 17 seconds of silence for the 17 lives lost at Marjory Stoneman Douglass.

While black artists will continue to shed light on the issues out community faces, one can only hope that at some point it will be enough to enact real change.

Cover Image Credit:

Vlad Tchompalov

Popular Right Now

Stop Discourging Future Teachers

One day, you'll be thankful for us.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?" It seems like this is the question we heard from the time we were able to talk. Our answers started out as whatever movie or action figure was popular that year. I personally was going to be Cinderella and shoot spider webs out of my wrists at the same time. The next phase was spent choosing something that we read about in a book or saw in movies. We were aspiring to be actors, skydivers, and astronauts.

After we realized NASA may not necessarily be interested in every eager 10-year-old, we went through the unknown stage. This chapter of life can last a year or for some, forever. I personally did not have a long “unknown" stage. I knew I was going to be a teacher, more specifically I knew I wanted to do elementary or special education. I come from a family of educators, so it was no surprise that at all the Thanksgiving and Christmas functions I had actually figured it out. The excitement of knowing what to do with the rest of my life quickly grew and then began to dwindle just as fast.


"Well, looks like you'll be broke all your life."

“That's a lot of paperwork."

“If I could go back and do it again, I wouldn't choose this."

These are just a few replies I have received. The unfortunate part is that many of those responses were from teachers themselves. I get it, you want to warn and prepare us for the road we are about to go down. I understand the stress it can take because I have been around it. The countless hours of grading, preparing, shopping for the classroom, etc. all takes time. I can understand how it would get tiresome and seem redundant. The feeling a teacher has when the principal schedules yet another faculty meeting to talk an hour on what could've been stated in an email… the frustration they experience when a few students seem uncontrollable… the days they feel inadequate and unseen… the sadness they feel when they realize the student with no supplies comes from a broken home… I think it is safe to say that most teachers are some of the toughest, most compassionate and hardworking people in this world.

Someone has to be brave enough to sacrifice their time with their families to spend time with yours. They have to be willing to provide for the kids that go without and have a passion to spread knowledge to those who will one day be leading this country. This is the reason I encourage others to stop telling us not to go for it.

Stop saying we won't make money because we know. Stop saying we will regret it, because if we are making a difference, then we won't. Stop telling us we are wasting our time, when one day we will be touching hearts.

Tell us to be great, and then wish us good luck. Tell us that our passion to help and guide kids will not go unnoticed. Tell us that we are bold for trying, but do not tell us to change our minds.

Teachers light the path for doctors, police officers, firefighters, politicians, nurses, etc. Teachers are pillars of society. I think I speak for most of us when I say that we seek to change a life or two, so encourage us or sit back and watch us go for it anyways.

Cover Image Credit: Kathryn Huffman

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14 Honest College Things The Class Of 2023 Needs To Know ~Before~ Fall Semester

Sit down, be humble.


To The Class of 2023,

Before you start your college career, please know:

1. Nobody...and I mean nobody gives a shit about your AP Calculus scores.


" I got a 5 in Calc AB AND BC, a 5 in AP Literature, awh but I only got a 4 in AP Chem"

2. THE SAME GOES FOR YOUR SAT/ACT SCORES + nobody will know what you're talking about because they changed the test like 10 times since.


3. College 8 AMs are not the same as your 0 period orchestra class in 12th grade.


4. You're going to get rejected from a lot of clubs and that does not make you a failure.


5. If you do get into your clubs, make sure not to overwhelm or overcommit yourself.

visual representation of what it looks like when you join too many clubs


6. It's OK to realize that you don't want to be pre-med or you want to change majors.


7. There will ALWAYS ALWAYS be someone who's doing better than you at something but that doesn't mean you're behind.


8. "I'm a freshman but sophomore standin-" No, you don't have to clarify that, you'll sound like an asshole.


9. You may get your first ever B-, C+ or even D OR EVEN A W in your life. College is meant to teach you how to cope with failure.


10. Go beyond your comfort zone. Join a theatre club if you're afraid of public speaking. Join an animal rescue club if you're afraid of animals. College is learning more about yourself.


11. Scholarships do exist. APPLY APPLY APPLY.


12. Don't try to brag about all the stuff you did in high school, you'll just sound like a weenie hut jr. scout


13. Understand and be sensitive to the fact that everybody around you has a different experience and story of getting to university.


14. You're going to be exposed to people with different opinions and views, don't fight them. Instead, try to explain your perspective and listen to their reasoning as well.


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