28 days of Blackity-Black Songs.

Hello folks. HP here with another month long celebration of Black music and Black artists. Doing things a little differently this year. The previous two years I’ve explored the work and legacy (and my own personal engagement) of Black women musicians. The first year I picked 28 of my favorite artists and wrote about them each day. The response gave me so much joy! The second year I picked 28 more, but I thought more about the unsung artists, the composers, the producers, the songwriters. Writing got me through the month- I was working through loss and it gave me something to look forward to every day. And again, the engagement was a gift I’m still grateful for!

This time out I have 28 Blackity Black songs. I’m riffing from a funny t shirt that pops up on the internet every now and then that says ‘I’m black every month, but this month I’m Blackity Black!’. Of course this isn’t some kind of official designation. It’s not my favorite 28 songs by Black musicians, it’s not some kind of canonical list of songs, etc. It’s just me picking tunes that have, in one way or another, helped me define my identity as a Black person, and shaped my understanding of the history and cultural status of Black people and their contributions to American art and music. I don’t claim to know every single thing about every single one of these songs. But I do think these are remarkable works that deserve a first or second or maybe even third look. They offer an extraordinary opportunity to consider how Black people have made themselves known to each other and the world. These songs are about the humanity of Black people, about our daily lives, about the contours of our existence in a country that has consistently denied our very humanity.

I hope you’ll press play on everything, even if it’s not necessarily your thing. I hope you read the lyrics. I hope you think about it for a bit. I hope you dance! I hope you listen to more stuff. I hope you enjoy the tunes!

htfy these songs! A new post will appear in the comments every evening in February around 6pm CST.

(header image: Glenn Ligon- Untitled (I Feel Most Colored When I am Thrown Against A Sharp White Background), 1992 )