Realizing I have Black Girl Magic is one of the greatest moments of my life. My shade is as beautiful as the person next to me. My features, my personality, my talents, nothing is wrong with me. It’s a feeling every black girl should know and cherish. However, I have days when I look into the mirror and feel disgusted with myself. I wonder why I even dared to appreciate what I was given. That’s where music comes in.
People forget sometimes the power a tune and some lyrics have. One second you’re on the edge of crying and the next it feels like the tears never existed. Your heart is beating along to the bass and music notes are flowing in through one ear and out the other. Music can make me bounce my curls, shake my hips, and help clear my mind. It’s a great medicine. I love songs that are perfect for “dancing-in-the-moment” and “wind-in-my-face-moments”.
And if you’re just in the mood to hear the voice of a person who knows how you’re feeling poetry is great. I love listening to poets express their emotions with language. It can strengthen you and help you heal on your bad days.
So here is my Black Girl Magic Mixtape filled with some of my favorite songs and poems (which was hard to narrow down to let me tell you that).
1. “Hey Black Child” || Countee Cullen (Recited by Pe’Tehn Raighn-Kem)
“Do what you can do
And tomorrow your nation
Will be what you what it to be”
How Countee Cullen ends this poem beautifully and I don’t know if there ever be a better way to do it. It makes me feel powerful and that I can accomplish anything. Plus, listening to three year old Pe’Tehn Raighn-Kem recite this poem makes it ten times more inspiring.
2. “To Be Young Gifted and Black” || Nina Simone
“In the whole world you know
There are billion boys and girls
Who are young, gifted and black,
And that’s a fact!”
I wish I heard this song earlier in my life. In this world, not enough little black girls know that they’re intelligent and full of promise! I want other black girls to know that they are not nothing and that they aren’t meaningless.
3. “Phenomenal Woman” || Maya Angelou
“I’m a woman,
Every part of you deserves to be celebrated, so don’t hold back!
4. “Video” || India.Arie
“I’m not the average girl from your video
And I ain’t built like a supermodel
But I learned to love myself unconditionally,
Because I am a queen”
Like many out there, I am learning to love my features and my personality. India.Arie’s song reminds me that there’s only one me and I can’t help but be me.
5. “Golden” || Jill Scott
“I’m holding on to my freedom,
Can’t take it from me,
I was born into it,
It comes naturally”
Jill Scott couldn’t have said it any better. Smile, laugh, enjoy life because as cliché as it sounds you only got one life so don’t spend it limiting yourself. Don’t let other people control your happiness.
6. “Black Girl Magic” || Shasparay Lightheard
“You can say that I am a witch because I’m dark and fly,
Or because it takes a lot of magic to exist as a black woman”
The poem lives up to its title. Black Girl Magic is surviving when the world doesn’t want you to. It’s being told to hate yourself by the same people who want to be you. It’s still loving yourself at the end of the day. Shasparay Lightheard gave me chills with her poem and it has become one of my favorites!
7. “And Still I Rise” || Maya Angelou
“You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.”
No matter what is said to me, no matter who tries to break me down, I will still stand tall and proud. I wish Maya Angelou was still alive so I could thank her for her poems that bring me comfort.
8. “Strong Girl” || ONE (African Women Artists)
“Anywhere you are
Show the world that you’re a strong girl
Say you’re a strong girl
Why not sing about being strong while dancing? It sends a great message while also being very upbeat. To make it better, the song from ONE’s #WithStrongGirls movement is by African women artists Arielle T (Gabon), Victoria Kimani (Kenya), Gabriela (Mozambique), Waje (Nigeria), Yemi Alade (Nigeria), Vanessa Mdee (Tanzania), Blessing Nwafor (South Africa), Judith Sephuma (South Africa), and Selmor Mtukudzi (Zimbabwe). This is one song you shouldn’t overlook.
9. “Stay Woke” || Kai Davis & Miriam Harris
“When you disrespect black women, you cut your roots at the source.”
A problem in the black community is the issue of black men not respecting black women. It’s ridiculous since these men are also hating on their mothers, aunts, sisters, cousins, and friends. Black men need to know that they’re just screwing themselves up.
10. “Sorry” || Beyoncé
“Now you want to say you’re sorry
Now you want to call me crying
Now you gotta see me wildin’
Now I’m the one that’s lying
And I don’t feel bad about it
It’s exactly what you get
Stop indirecting my grinding”
A part of black girl magic is being carefree. Remember that jerk? The backstabber? The two-faced “friend”? Here’s a great song to listen to as you let them go because they’re officially irrelevant to you and your life.
11. “Formation” || Beyoncé
“I see it, I want it, I stunt, yellow-bone it
I dream it, I work hard, I grind ’til I own it”
Black girls are successful. Black girls are hardworking. Black girls are bosses. Don’t mess with us because we will get what we came for.
12. “Run The World (Girls)” || Beyoncé
“This goes out to all the women getting it in,
You’re on your grind
To other men that respect what I do
Please accept my shine”
I was about 12 years old when I first heard this and in seconds I loved every word. I love this part in the song the most because women, especially black women, do not get credit for their work. Whether you work at home, in an office, a classroom, on sea, in the air, etc you work hard and deserve respect!
Because we love you, we compiled all of these songs on one playlist. We hope you enjoy!
- Hey Black Child (Recited by Pe’Tehn Raighn-Kem) Countee Cullen 1:36
- To Be Young Gifted and Black Nina Simone 2:51
- Phenomenal Woman Maya Angelou 1:51
- Video India.Arie 4:10
- Golden Jill Scott 3:52
- Black Girl Magic Shasparay Lightheard 3:40
- And Still I Rise Maya Angelou 2:52
- Strong Girl ONE (African Women Artists) 4:09
- Stay Woke Kai Davis & Miriam Harris 2:37
- SORRY Beyonce 3:53
- FORMATION Beyonce 3:26
- Run The World (Girls) Beyonce 3:56