Whether you’re gearing up to protest or struggling with the state of the world at home, music has a way of putting meaningful moments into perspective.
During the pivotal modern civil rights movement, people are creating music to help document the times and express painful moments. If you’re looking for something to listen to when working to mentally overcome this time of social unrest, here are some songs to add to your social justice soundtrack:
1. Long Time Coming: Dee-1 X Keyiara
Teacher turned rapper Dee-1 has teamed up with singer Keyiara to deliver a song to unite people in the painful times following the coronavirus and social unrest plaguing the globe. In the official music video directed by Daniel IV, thought provoking images of kids holding up signs featuring “Systemic oppression” and “COVID-19” are burned and replaced by messages like “Reconciliation” and “Healing.”
I just want to love my brother and my sister like I’m supposed to
Spread love give knowledge like I’m supposed to
Change the world through my voice like I hope to
Been a long time coming
But a change gon come I can feel it
2. I Can’t Breathe: Deitrick Haddon
Deitrick Haddon’s voice mixed with his storytelling in this song make this the type of emotional ballad you could shed tears listening to. The musician manges to tell the story of George Floyd, demand change and pray for the state of the world on this song that reflects both the pain and hope of so many people right now.
I can’t Breathe
Your Hand is Choking Life
Out of Me
This is supposed to be
The Land of the Free
Look at me, I can’t Breathe
3. Sixpence: Joey Vantes
Joey Vantes is the type of lyricist with a depth that will force you to listen closely and think about a song long after it stops playing. With “Sixpence,” the rapper doesn’t disappoint as he calls out the blatant racism plaguing the world today.
And what’s wrong with a skin tone?
Peel it back, same blood, vein, meat, bones
All came from the same seed Eve broke
And you ain’t better than nobody, we a equal
It ain’t true, we rated by the shade
Hunted by the police, straight from a way’s
Levels to this hell, to you it’s another day
We cross another line, who gon’ have to die today?
4. The Medicine: Alex Aiono X Dee Wilson
Alex Aiono and Dee Wilson use their voices like a healing balm to collaborate on this modern day hymn that exposes the sickness that threatens to divide us.
I can speak the words of many songs of angels
I can land all of my possessions to the poor
But if your love can’t move the mountain of my hatred
Somehow I’ve missed you and I need you so much more
5. Beautiful Dreamer: Christon Gray
So many people have been sold on the American dream, but in his song “Beautiful Dreamer,” Christon Gray is reminding us about all of the flaws that make it seem like a nightmare. He challenges the narrative of people in the Christian community who may not believe that racism is running rampant in the U.S. while ending in a unifying message of love.
Sure, sirens can make anybody nervous
And no disrespect to the ones who protect and serve us
I just don’t wanna watch another funeral service
‘Cause no lives matter in the media circus
Is it Black vs. White or is it Dark vs. Light?
Pick a side in this fight ’cause it’s Wrong vs. Right
Man, you’ll always close the doors if you think people are strange
But as long as we’re alive just know that people can change
6. More Love: Phil J.
Singer and Rapper Phil J. is showing us what it sounds like to lament as a black man feeling like a foreigner in the nation he calls home while calling for love and unity.
Black man, black man, black man, black man
There’s no denying that’s what I really am
I love everybody the best that I can
But some may look at me like I’m on foreign land
I don’t understand how somebody can live like that
Viewing another human as someone less than my heart is hurting
Cuz the evils of a lost man
I pray unity in this world is a part of God’s plan, God’s plan
7. “Deep End”: Lecrae
Lecrae is continuing to use his voice and platform to speak out against injustice while being transparent about how hard that fight can be in his song and music video for “Deep End.”
I’ve been doing better than I was before
I walk with a limp ’cause I’ve been wrestling with the Holy Ghost
Deep end of this pit but still somehow I keep on floating on
Thought I lost my grip but God reminded me it’s holy