An Independence Day playlist by BMAJR

A man with long hair standing underneath a palm tree.

In acknowledgment that July 4 does not represent freedom for all, the New York-based DJ and member curates a playlist that invites everyone to ground themselves in examples of Black artistry and music

By BMAJR   Saturday 4 July, 2020

'July 4th never really felt like a holiday to me. I was blessed to grow up being taught the history of my people. I know that black people were not free in 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was signed nor in 1863 when the Emancipation Proclamation was signed or even on July 2nd 1964 when the Civil Rights Act was signed. Today, Black people are still fighting for freedom and liberties granted under the Constitution. It’s hard to celebrate a national day of freedom when this nation denies so many the opportunity to be free.

On the contrary, I feel compelled to use this time to reflect and provide an invitation for everyone to ground themselves in examples of Black artistry and music that truly and accurately depicts the African-American experience throughout the years. Black music by nature is steeped in hope and optimism; it is truthful and our truth can sometimes be dark. 

This playlist is a gamut of Black music that highlights a range of records that include the rich history of my hometown of Detroit, the Motown sound and the current hits of today. It was important for me to highlight Black excellence from artists like Bill Withers, whose “Lovely Day” features the longest recorded note in US top 40 history. I chose songs that capture Black beauty like Masego & FKJ’s “Tadow” and party classics that evoke nostalgia like T-pain’s “Buy U a Drank”. It was important to capture Black joy, pride and optimism. Most importantly, I wanted to capture Black truth. 

I am constantly inspired to see so many people globally come together to rally against systemic oppression. I hope this musical playlist leaves you with optimism and hope for a better tomorrow, in unison, and in support of one another.' 

Black music is love - love of self and others!  

Listen to BMAJR's playlist here
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