Sarah’s healing playlist as a way to help black folx connect to their grief.
“Structural change cannot wait, but our energy is finite.”
So much has happened in the world recently. I noticed that often I had to look for ways and things to implement in my slow living lifestyle to recharge myself. Perhaps that’s also recognizable to you?
Therefore, Sarah Njoroge decided to create and share a Spotify playlist. And I am happy that I can share it here, too. Before sharing it, I was very curious about why Sara’s chose to make this list and the choices of songs in the playlist. That’s why I asked her a few questions. You can read the answers here below in this interview.
Sarah Njoroge From: US Lives in: The Netherlands
Why did you want to make this Spotify playlist?
I decided to make this playlist as a way to help black folx connect to their grief. Oftentimes the consistent deaths at the hands of police, the acts of racism and hatred towards our community can leave us with a range of emotions. It’s a heavy burden that bleeds into our personal lives. During this uprising, I shared those feelings with my community—many of whom feel extremely exhausted. We were seeing so many resources on social media, specifically for white people, to learn more about concepts like systemic racism.
But I thought to myself, black people don’t need these resources—this is real life for us. These events are so visceral that they could be our mothers, fathers, and friends. I thought we needed resources to cry to, to laugh, and to feel empowered. One day I sat down and tracked down all the songs that expressed how I felt. Then, I shared it as an Instagram story for my friends.
Is there a specific reason you chose music as your medium?
Music has always been an important mode of healing for me. It has consistently been the one thing that gave me the language to express those feelings that are hard to share out loud. Historically, the African diaspora has produced music that talks about social injustices to the masses.
My favorite genres hip hop and soul are deeply rooted in protest and resistance; our personal experiences are political in nature. Black artists have found a way to bleed those personal experiences into lyrics that make us go “aha, I’ve experienced that”. It’s been a way for our community to not feel so alone. That’s why I chose music, for us to grapple with the context of black people’s sour relationship with law enforcement but also to hear the songs that uplift us. I imagined that anyone listening could meditate to the lyrics or dance alone in their rooms.
How did you come up with the artists on the playlist?
I was very intentional when choosing the artists on this playlist. I wanted to be sure that these voices were unapologetic and critical of the very political system that produces inequality. For example, artists like Noname are so conversational about the racial injustices in the US. But she also talks about overhauling the current system that perpetuates state violence and white supremacy—which is the sad realities of her song “Casket Pretty”.
My girl Solange always speaks up for us. She doesn’t shy away from speaking on microaggressions and appropriation; “Mad” was a must for the beginning of this playlist. Sprinkled in the mix are audio recordings of Angela Davis, Assata Shakur and Huey P. Newton. It was important to include pieces from our thought-leaders who have paved the way for this revolution to take place.
My favorite song on the playlist is “Deathless” by Ibeyi. The song is how I feel in my spirit: our ancestors live within us. We are far beyond death. There has been so much work done to allow us to birth a more equitable future for the next generation.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the readers?
I believe that it’s important to remember our joy is vital to our existence. While music helps us experience that, it’s so important for black folx to heal with our community. From a young age, we have to learn to navigate white supremacy on our tippy toes, but one thing I know is that black people laugh! We find joy in the smallest of things. I chose the song “Bigger” by Beyonce as the final song because she says this line, “Life is your birthright, they hid that in the fine print”. It’s time for us to live in big doses, unapologetically taking the space we are denied. To me, joy helps us access that.
Thank you so much for sharing your playlist and story with us Sarah! Click here to listen to the playlist!
Interested in more mind & soul music? Have a look at this post.