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10 Songs That’ll Add Some Soul to Your Playlist

You just made an amazing playlist. You share it with all your friends. You wake up jamming to it every morning and two-step to bed. About two weeks pass, and the playlist feels dry and lackluster. 

You need a new playlist ASAP. No worries–I got your back. As a way to reflect on Black History Month, I compiled new and old age hits to revive your streaming playlist. Behind the songs are some of the greatest female artists of color who blessed our ears with feel good music.

“Optimistic” by Sounds of Blackness

This is an R&B classic that anyone can just sway to while doing homework in their room. The song utilizes gospel voices to uplift the listener with the encouraging words, “you can win as long as you keep your head to the sky.”

“Don’t Touch My Hair” by Solange

Solange serenades the listener with the delicacy of her voice in “Don’t Touch My Hair.” This song exemplifies more than a feel good tune. It reflects on the experience of young black girls with natural hair. Natural curls, coils and kinks are a meaningful part of a black girl’s identity and self-image.

“This is America” by Childish Gambino

Who could forget the release of the music video “This is America” by Childish Gambino. The song starts like the build-up of a horror scene, with high-pitched mantras and echoing voices. About 45 seconds into the song, the catchy beat drops, and the bass takes over. The song focuses on the experience as an African American living in the United States and establishes a deeper meaning connected to police brutality among other social injustices. I encourage everyone to watch the music video.

“You make me feel (mighty real)” by Slyvester

Get ready to enter a disco wonderland complete with bell-bottom jeans and round, tinted shades. Listening to these classics flash you back in time to the 1960s, and you can’t help but groove in your seat and envision yourself at the Soul Train Awards.

“Before I Let Go” by Beyoncé

This remake of Frankie Beverly and Maze’s “Before I Let Go” gives listeners a fresh take on the popular family reunion hit. The song even has a line dance to get up and dance too!

“Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys

When I hear this song, my mind immediately thinks of Simone Biles, Yara Shahidi and Serena Williams, which are all women who have excelled in their fields of work. Alicia Keys’ powerful vocals communicate the amazing capabilities and achievements of female trailblazers.

“Doo Wop (That Thing)” by Lauryn Hill

Lauryn Hill is like an older relative teaching you about the men that only want “that thing.” This R&B song preaches that young woman know their worth, “baby girl, respect is just a minimum” and to be cautious when entering relationships.

“Level Up” by Ciara

This 2018 hit is a must in this playlist. The song not only encourages listeners to hustle, but it stresses hard work until you’ve reached your highest level! On top of the that, the fast-paced beat makes dancing contagious.

“Work” by Rihanna

Rihanna’s song “Work” puts the listener on the white sand beaches of the Caribbean, with a tropical drink in one hand and a beach towel in the other. “Work” puts a Soca twist on the pop song that no one can resist.

“Feeling Good” by Nina Simone

This song was released in 1965. For a song written over 50 years ago and the ability to appeal to so many generations speaks to her phenomenal gift. This song is yet another uplifting song that makes the listener feel confident.

There are so many great artists I haven’t even mentioned yet. But these songs in particular, new and old, can help you establish a new respect for music in the remaining days of Black History Month. You can follow this link to the Spotify playlist to listen to the rest of the songs.

Kalia is currently a journalism major at the University of Florida. She loves getting involved in all things fashion, jamming out to house music beats and traveling to new places. She is currently an active member of the Black Student Union and spends her leisure reading, sketching and working out. You can keep up with all the things she's involved in through Instagram @k.a.li.a.
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