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New Music Friday: Here's Your Weekend Playlist

This week's new releases are sure to keep you moving.

Music

Despite 2020, and the beginning of 2021, being the endless dumpster fire that it was, we have to admit one thing: it did a hell of a thing for one's creativity. With all the time in the world to be stuck at home, musicians put paper to pen, voices to mics, and now we can reap the benefits of its creative wonders. Kicking the summer off right, artists have released new music to fit all of your sunny adventures.


Whether you're looking for a song to bring in the morning ("Formwela 4"), revive your day ("Tonight Tonight"), or one to close out the night ("Thot Shit"), this week's new releases are sure to keep you moving:

1.H.E.R - "We Made It"

If anyone is said to be having fantastic 2021, it has to be her—excuse me, H.E.R. Between the Grammys and the Academy awards, H.E.R. has been coming out with one bop after the next. "We Made It" naturally has H.E.R. spend some time basking in that glory. While it is possibly a love song that H.E.R smoothly sings to lover, I like to think of it as something that she sings to close friend, or family member. She has spent sleepless nights working and slaving for this career she has created. Along the way, the people who loved her have been her confidants and support. Now that she has made it, she wants them to know that she couldn't have done it without them.

2.Megan Thee Stallion - "Thot Shit"

Straight out of the rejuvenation pod, and almost college, is Meg on her "Thot Shit." Similar to her lively singles before, "Thot Shit" requires open space, good knees, and the ability to move your hips. With a fast triplet flow, Megan Thee Stallion raps about embracing and feeling herself, while telling those who don't "f" off with all disrespect. With over 8 million views on YouTube, "Thot Shit" came out just in time for the hot girls to return to the summer's dance floor.

3.Amindi - "Haircut"

Come on, I have that moment. You have that moment. Oh, you know the moment when you just got hair done and your feeling yourself. Whether it's braids, locs, wigs, perms, or just a simple "Haircut," you start to look at yourself with a new glow and whimsy. Amindi is no different. Just getting a haircut with a "fade down to the sides," Amindi sings laxly with a lullaby-like ease. Feeling self-confident, Amindi openly loves herself. So much so, that she takes herself on a date and offers the treatment she hopes others would offer her. Nevertheless, instead of doing so mournfully, she seems just happy enjoying her own company.

4.Celeste - "Tonight Tonight"

Celeste. Celeste. Celeste. You've done it, again and then some. If you don't know who this artist is, it's about time you do. After the sultry ballad "Strange"received recognition on Apple's Ted Lasso, Celeste is back with a new single from the album Not Your Muse. Unlike "Strange," "Tonight Tonight" is a wonderful sultry track that feels like a delightful groove from the past. Although, that does not negate the new age spin that Celeste has added to her repertoire. Tell Alexa to play "Tonight Tonight" and sway those hips.

5.Jon Batiste - "Freedom"

This song makes me want to slide throughout my living room in a shimmy, funk fashion. It makes me want to shake, wobble, and hop around erratically despite those watching. Maybe it's because Jon Batiste is sporadically and happily dancing around the city. Maybe it's because it is nice to see a Black man enjoying himself while singing about feeling of being carefree with oneself. Maybe it's because the song feels like freedom. Whatever it is, it's simply delightful and a must to add to the beginning, middle, and end of your summer playlist.

6.Ivy Sole - "Dangerous"

Aside from Tierra Whack and Chika, there hasn't been anyone more slept on than Ivy Sole. Here with her single "Dangerous," Sole raps and sings with the flow and realizations of a 90's poet. With melancholy lyrics, "Don't have to love me back/You know that I'm dangerous/Lord knows, I'd do me bad," Ivy Sole discusses the process of "embracing the shadows" while internalizing "a deep acceptance of [her] wholeness as modeled through the radical love and care [she] received from [her] community of Black revolutionaries, Black queer people, and Black healers." The song features R&B/Soul artist Kingsley Ibeneche.

7.Esperanza Spalding - "Formwela 4"

Created in her Songwrights Apothecary Lab, an experimental space that seeks exploration of music and musicianship as means of healing, Esperanza Spalding and Corey King release their newest single, "Formwela 4." When asked about her inspiration for the song, Esperanza says that the song is meant "to remind listeners that loving and self-giving are not individual undertakings; that even in the most intimate circumstances, ancestors and earth's support forces are in attendance, for the honoring of their beauty via the truth of how you really are, and what you really need." The song is nearly five minutes of pure musical healing. With the gentle picking of King's guitar, rustling of the wind and leaves, and Spalding and Kings soulful voices, close your eyes as you enjoy the warm summer sun against your skin.

8.Diana Ross - "Thank You"

Just a couple of days ago, Diana Ross announced that she would be releasing her first single in 15 years, titled "Thank You." With just an eight-second sample, "Thank You" seems like another summer bop to add to the playlist. With the hopeful lyrics, playful piano, and air-like vocals, Diana's Ross's single "Thank You" is a great song to play on your road trip with the ones you love.

9.Polo G & Nicki Minaj - "For the Love of New York"

It is highly unlikely that Polo G and Nicki Minaj's "For the Love of New York" will be the song of the summer or overplayed in the clubs. Though, this is not a knack on what the song is, but of what it is not. Despite being used to the club anthems by the two, this song flows on top of a Caribbean island-like beat that allows for relaxation and appreciation that a club song would not. Nevertheless, the song is not as calming as one would think, well into the song, it is quickly noticed that Polo G is like just any other guy out there. Aware that he is messing with someone's emotions, he seems incapable of stopping himself from making "heartless" mistakes. Which only forces Minaj to experience the consequences of those decisions when she is left broken and alone.

10.Amber Mark - "Competition"

The video: art.

The artist: under-appreciated.

Amber Marks has arrived with her newest single "Competition." "Competition" talks about Mark's desire to put the people that she cares about on the map. Instead of seeing them as competition, she sees them as allies, people who she is willing to help, if only they are willing to accept it. Whether she is singing that it is not a competition because she believes that they can succeed together, or that she is in a league of her own, "Competition" is a song that requires every bit of your attention. It's catchy. It's a vibe and its visual is just so damn nice to look at. This might not be a competition, but if it had been, Marks definitely has her eyes on the grand prize.

Featured image via Giphy

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My knee-jerk reaction, of course, comes from years of watching film and TV that have exploited Black trauma onscreen and were created with little (if any) consideration for what could emotionally trigger the Black audience. The 1955 murder of Emmett Till is so heartbreaking and inherently violent; would this film make us live through that violence on screen?

Fortunately, no!

This week, before watching Gina Prince-Bythewood's incredible The Woman King, a featurette for Till played in place of a trailer and it soothed my fears.

"There will be no physical violence against Black people on screen," the film's award-winning director and co-writer Chinonye Chukwu says in the featurette. "I'm not interested in relishing in that kind of physical trauma. We're going to begin and end in a place of joy," she says.

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After a private screening of Till, this week, Trayvon Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, tweeted that the film was "#Powerful" and "a must see."

Mamie's story of courage in the face of unspeakable tragedy deserves to be told--especially as we continue the fight for civil rights today. Knowing that the Black filmmakers behind the film are centering Black joy and aiming for our empowerment through the film makes a world of difference.

TILLis in theaters October 14.

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