We are in scary times. Our president defends Neo-Nazis. The “Supreme Leader” of North Korea issues weekly threats. A tax bill is about to destroy America’s economy. There is a mass shooting every few weeks. Hell, even Cornel West and Ta-Nashi Coates can’t get along. As you’ve heard, now is the time to resist, fight back and say no more. Resistance could be in the form of a peaceful protest, mobilizing the vote so a pedophile isn’t in the U.S. Senate, or just clapping back at bigotry in your daily life. So, to keep you motivated, here are eight songs to inspire your revolutionary spirit, all courtesy of Black women.
Nina Simone, “Mississippi Goddam” (1964)
The High Priestess of Soul was a protest singer who dedicated her career to speaking out against injustice. Nina was moved to write the epic “Mississippi Goddam” after the tragic killing of Medgar Evers in Mississippi, who was assassinated by a Klansman and the church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, which killed four black girls — both incidents happened in 1963. The song is a live recording and Nina belts out, “Alabama’s got me so upset, Tennessee’s made me lose my rest, and everybody knows about Mississippi goddam.” She also sings, “Keep on sayin’ ‘go slow’…to do things gradually would bring more tragedy. Why don’t you see it? Why don’t you feel it? I don’t know, I don’t know. You don’t have to live next to me, just give me my equality!” Damn right, Nina.
Aretha Franklin, “A Change Is Gonna Come” (1967)
Aretha Franklin’s remake of Sam Cooke‘s “A Change Is Gonna Come” was the final song on her 1967 album I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You. The country was in the middle of the turbulent 1960s, we were at war with Vietnam, Malcolm X was assassinated two years earlier and Black Americans were fighting for the Fair Housing Act, which would come on April 11, 1968 — seven days after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed.The song represents change, hope and is certainly fitting in 2017, no matter how difficult the times are today.