"What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” Frederick Douglass opined on July 5, 1852, in a scathing cross-examination that laid bare the inequalities that Black Americans faced. Indeed, the act of celebrating "Independence Day" in America has been a long-standing complicated matter within the Black community when we are still fighting against systematic inequality and oppression.
This year’s annual celebration might feel particularly grating with a president who has a history of dog-whistle racism occupying the country's highest office. Which is why on this Fourth of July we are unapologetically celebrating our Blackness to the fullest. And what’s a celebration without a good playlist? Music has long been fundamental in amplifying the joys and tribulations of Black lives.
From uplifting and empowering anthems such as Aretha Franklin’s “Young, Gifted, And Black” that preach on the awesomeness of being Black, to incisive call-outs that speak to the disenfranchisement of Black communities such as Joey Bada$$’ “Land of the Free” — here is the only playlist you’ll need to listen to this Fourth of July, for all the resistance fighters and truthsayers carrying the torch and moving the culture forward.
(Photo: Getty / g-stockstudio)