If I had to sum up my condition over the last few weeks, it’d be exhaustion. I’m tired. I told a friend this week that my soul feels like it needs to hibernate. Not only in grieving for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Tony McDade but also in viewing what feels like hundreds of accounts of hotheaded police officers violently attacking protesters who are demonstrating against police violence. Once again, I’m forced to confront the reality that I’m not as free as I’ve been led to believe. That our system is broken. That people want me dead, due to no fault of my own.

Before, during, and after times of hardship, many in the Black community create art to take in the pain and struggle and release a beauty that heals and teaches. Black creatives are always working, trying to find some understanding, envisioning a better world. Some of my most pleasant moments in the past few weeks were when a close friend and I just listened to music. We sat in its energy, each new song reflecting on our reality. We’d jump from Erykah Badu to 21 Savage to Rico Nasty to Buju Banton then back around again. From R&B classics to trap to gospel. Each twist in the playlist turns a new page in our own stories.

Here’s a selection of works that have been of service to me and some people to whom I think you should pay attention. Some of these I’ve loved for a while, other things I’ve only discovered recently. I hope you find something here that speaks to you or at least livens up your day.

Noname

Instagram


Nikkolas Smith


Zouzouo Williams Obrou


BEAM

Instagram


Teddy Walton (Music Producer)

Instagram


Bryce Cobbs


Ciscero

Instagram


Gianni Lee


Ray Neutron

Instagram

Photograph by Ray Neutron
Photograph by Ray Neutron

Tierra Whack

Instagram


Smino

Instagram


Baby Keem

Website


Andre Nódoa


KOTA The Friend

Instagram


They Hate Change

Instagram


Angrygengars


Rico Nasty

Instagram


Kenny Mason

Instagram


Cary Fagan

Instagram | Puzzle Project (% to support Girls Who Code)

Photograph by Cary Fagan
Photograph by Cary Fagan

EarthGang

Instagram


Stina Aleah


Simpson

Instagram


Ari Lennox

Instagram


Ezra Claytan Daniels


Denzel Curry

Instagram


Shygirl

Instagram


Leighton McDonald


Brandon Gastinell


JID

Instagram


Dave McClinton


Channel Tres

Instagram


Matt Mcghee

Instagram


Adé Hogue


Koffee

Instagram


JPEGMafia

Instagram


Zack Fox

Instagram


Lucky Daye

Instagram


Father Nico


D Smoke

Instagram


Flo Milli

Instagram


G.L.A.M.

Instagram


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