Honoring Black Heritage Month with a powerful playlist
By Katie Neitz
It’s a dreary, gloomy February afternoon. But inside Farinon College Center, there’s a dynamic, electric energy in the air. That’s thanks to Charles Evans ’19—and his boombox.
Evans regularly plays DJ here—and on other common areas on campus—as a way to bring people together and create a comfort zone, particularly for students of color.
“I think music creates a welcoming atmosphere and helps people chill and relax and just be themselves,” says Evans, who is a Posse Scholar, vice president of Association of Black Collegians, and member of Brothers of Lafayette. “I think music is humanity’s equalizer. A good beat and melody can resolve a lot of things.”
In honor of Black Heritage Month, we asked Evans, who also hosts a weekly radio show on student station WJRH (“Time and a Half with Brother Charles,” Wednesdays at 5 p.m.), to compile a playlist to recognize and celebrate the music of African American artists.
Playlist Title: “Full Circle” (to be played in this order)
“Sittin’ On the Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding
Classic R&B and soul; won the 1969 Grammy for best R&B song
“Save Room” by John Legend
Soulful love song released in 2006; later appeared in films including It’s Complicated and Crazy, Stupid, Love
“Sweet Thing” by Chaka Khan
1975 funk hit; Mary J. Blige did a rendition of it in 1992
“Best Part” by Daniel Caesar
R&B song released in 2017 by Canadian rapper/singer/songwriter
“So What” by Miles Davis
Classic jazz standard; first track on the trumpeter Davis’ 1959 landmark album Kind of Blue
“Navajo” by Masego
Contemporary hip-hop; released in 2017
“Daydreaming” by Aretha Franklin
Classic soul; released in 1972; peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100
“Didn’t Cha Know” by Erykah Badu
Jazz/neo-soul; Erykah Badu is Evans’ favorite artist. “Her music speaks directly to my soul and has gotten me through the best and worst times of my life,” he says.
“Children’s Story” by Slick Rick
Old-school hip-hop/rap; released in 1988
“March Madness” by Future
Contemporary hip-hop; released in 2015; certified Platinum for selling more than 1 million digital copies in the U.S.
“Luck of Lucien” by A Tribe Called Quest
1990 hip-hop/rap pays homage to French rapper Lucien Revolucien
“Traphouse 3” by Gucci Mane
Southern hip-hop; released in 2013
“Fight the Power” by Public Enemy
Explosive hip-hop song that became a cultural anthem; commissioned by Spike Lee to open his 1989 film Do the Right Thing
“Warzone” by T.I.
Politically charged hip-hop/rap; talks about police brutality; released 2016
“Killing Me Softly” by Roberta Flack
Classic soul; received Grammy Award for best female pop vocal performance in 1974
“Ex-Factor” by Lauryn Hill
R&B/soul/pop; released in 1998 on the album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, which debuted at No.1 on the Billboard 200 chart
“Sober” by Mahalia
Soul/pop song by a breakout UK artist; released in 2017
“Soul Sista” by Bilal
R&B/soul/neo-soul; released in 2000
“The Weekend” by SZA
R&B song that received a Grammy nomination for best R&B performance; released 2017
“Cranes in the Sky” by Solange
Soul ballad that won a Grammy for best R&B performance in 2017
“Before I Let Go” by Maze featuring Frankie Beverly
Old-school R&B/disco-rock; released in 1981
“Juicy” by The Notorious B.I.G.
Hip-hop song that Rolling Stone listed as No. 8 in its ranking of the 50 greatest hip-hop songs; released in 1994
“Alright” by Kendrick Lamar
Rap song with a message of hope; nominated for four Grammys in 2016 and won best rap performance and best rap song
“It Was a Good Day” by Ice Cube
Rap that fantasizes about what a good day would be; released in 1993
“God’s Plan” by Drake
Hip-hop/rap that debuted at No. 1 on the Hot 100 list; released in 2018