Music Monday: 30 Songs You Need In Your Life Right Now

These artists are choosing themselves and their peace above all.


Despite the summer, and its heat, being on the rise, broken hearts continues to be this summer's biggest downfall. Although, thankfully, these broken hearts are not generic. They don't reside in one broken relationship after the other. Instead, these heartbreaks show up in various forms, from various captors. Some of the pain comes from falling out of love with another, others come from falling out of love with oneself. Regardless, it is safe to say that a few of these broken hearts are no longer accompanied by hurt feelings.

Instead, the artists of this week let you know that their hearts are broken, but they are more than happy to move on. Some of them acknowledge being foolish and creating their own issues ("Foolish Hearts"), others place the blame at the feet of the person who deserves it ("Don't Blame It on Love"). Either way, the music of this week shows what happens when one decides to push their heartache aside, whether romantic or familial, and chooses themselves and their peace overall.

1. "Tragic" - Jazmine Sullivan

The only thing tragic about Jazmine Sullivan's recent single, is the very notion that it's not bigger than it is. Coming off the high of her January album, Heaux Tales, Jazmine Sullivan is back to release her newest single "Tragic." The song begins with the voice of Maxine Waters as she explains why she is infamously reclaiming her time. Similar to Waters, Sullivan believes that her time was wasted on a man who didn't bother to try. Refusing to waste her time any longer, Sullivan reclaims what is left of her time and chooses to spend it on someone worth it.

With powerhouse vocals, smooth and alluring melodies, and fierce lyrics, Jazmine is demanding in what she wants and what she refuses to accept. Long gone are the days where she allows herself to be put second. Long gone are the days where she continues to ride with someone who is willing to give her up so easily. In the same way Sullivan acknowledges her man and his behavior had been tragic, she acknowledges that allowing it to get this far in the first place, was as well.

2. "I Like Dat" - T-Pain & Kehlani

When I first listened to this single, I must admit that I was a little disappointed to hear T-Pain singing in his signature auto-tuned tone. With revealing his true vocal prowess a couple of years ago, I had hoped that we would be welcomed into a new age of T-Pain music. Granted, we can't fault him, because it has worked in the past. Though, I am unsure what that will mean for his music in the future. In the "I Like Dat" single, T-Pain and Kehlani sing about a woman who is hard-working and manages to get what she needs without complaint. The song is good, catchy even, as it is reminiscent of his older 2000 hits. The nostalgic feel of the song will offer some sense of solace and the message behind the song will do just the same. "I Like Dat" will most likely not be the biggest hit of the summer, but it is a nice bop to add to your pre-game playlist, before hitting the club.

3. "Home" - Jorja Smith

From the EP Be Right Back, comes Jorja Smith's fourth single, "Home." In "Home," Smith talks about one of the greatest struggles one can have in a relationship: being unfulfilled. Although, this relationship ends mournfully, it is not like the breakup songs that have been released earlier this summer. Instead, the song portrays a relationship being almost perfect, the only thing wrong is that neither party is getting what they truly want out of the relationship. Therefore, the relationship has run its course. If anything, the only thing creating pain for the couple, at this point, is their inability to let one another go. For fear of uncertainty, they hold onto one another despite knowing that the relationship has overstayed its welcome. Eventually, they go their separate ways, but not without appreciating the things that made them feel at home.

4. "I Want" - ENNY

She wants lets stress and she wants more money. Releasing her newest single, "I Want" from the upcoming album, Under Twenty Five, ENNY knows exactly what she wants and how she wants it. Meanwhile, the person she is talking to…not so much. Which is fine, because according to ENNY, she has paved the way for them to figure it out in their own time, at their own pace. After all, the hardest decision to make is deciding to make a decision at all. With this newest single, ENNY vibes on with a 90s flow as she talks about the struggles of being in her 20s and having multiple identities and expectations to live up to.

5. "Lipstick" - WILLOW

With every single, WILLOW reaffirms my belief that Black women belong in the alternative/indie rock genre. If not all Black women, then this Black woman, especially. Willow Smith returns with her second single of the summer, "Lipstick," for her upcoming debut rock album, Lately I Feel Everything. Reminiscent of the early 2000's pop-punk/alternative rock, "Lipstick" is a guitar-fueled track about the burdens of keeping everything inside and suffering as a result. Though, she refuses to suffer any longer under the fear of scrutiny.

In a recent interview, WILLOW claims, "I realized that it's not my movie that can't sing this kind of music. I was afraid to sing this kind of music because I wasn't sure what people would think." Now, no longer afraid of the opinions of others, WILLOW shows that 11 years later after her debut single "Whip My Hair," rock is where she has always belonged.

6. "Corso" - Tyler, the Creator

Over the last few years, it has been truly a gift to watch the growth of Tyler, the Creator's artistry. From his more aggressive and misunderstood behaviors in Goblin and Wolf, to his more turned down, self-reflection in Flower Boy and Igor, Tyler, the Creator has returned with yet another album (Call Me If You Get Lost) and single, "Corso." In "Corso," Tyler brags about his success. Despite the expectations of others, he manages to live in a mansion and desires to surpass the milestone of being a millionaire, in hopes of becoming a billionaire. Yet, at this moment, he is unhappy and chooses to spend the millions he does have to "fill voids up."

7. "Don't Blame It On Love" - Yuna ft. Pink Sweats

In the newest single, "Don't Blame It On Love," Yuna challenges her partner to take what many are afraid to: accountability. After giving her all in her relationship, she wonders why she is left to drown while her lover remains above water. Instead of blaming their relationship on love, or saying their relationship is a consequence of love, Yuna tells him to take responsibility for the demise of their relationship. Pink Sweats naturally agrees with this assessment. Seeming to address a relationship of his own, Pink Sweats talks about how his partner seems to come short despite the endless chances given, as well. The constant gaslighting, unreliability, and lack of responsibility has left them feeling insecure, which has resulted in their withdrawal from the relationship. They wise enough to know that if love feels like this, then it isn't love at all.

8. "Headshots" - Isaiah Rashad

When asked about his latest single "Headshots" Isaiah Rashad states that the song can be taken two ways. Either you can interpret the song being about someone dying that you cared about, or dying yourself. Nevertheless, his newest single puts things in perspective about the state of the African-American community. He is tired of the violence, the alcohol consumption, and the glorifying of the two. Though, this does not mean that he is not about having a good time, he just believes that in doing so, you have to be conscious of what you're willing to sacrifice. He has experience a lot within his life and this song shows that from those experiences he has only become wiser. Though, the song could also be interpreted as a means to heal, with him stating that "the last couple of years I have been feeling dead," and now he has the chance to feel alive, again. All the while living the life he has always wanted and aspired to.

9. "Hourglass" - Mary J. Blige

From Amazon's Original Documentary, Mary J. Blige's My Life, comes her newest single "Hourglass." A hourglass is used to often symbolize how fleeting human existence can truly be. The sand that trickles down into the lower glass, represents the time that has been used and when it resides, it represents the memories that are left. The same can be said for Mary J. Blige's newest single. In the song, she reflects on the time spent in her life and in the lives of others. She questions whether they are satisfied with the time that has already been spent and what they will choose to do with the time that they have left.

Like most of Mary J. Blige's songs, she talks about the things that have made her the woman she is today. Though, she refuses to allow those moment, whether happy or sad, to dictate her future. If today was her last day, she doesn't want to spend it dwelling on what she has or hasn't done, instead, she is going to take the present for what it is, and worry about the hourglass when her time is up.

10. "Foolish Heart" - Alicia Keys

To celebrate the Songs in Minor 20th anniversary, Alicia Keys has released her newest, yet oldest, single "Foolish Heart." Noted as the first song Keys has ever recorded, "Foolish Heart," debuts for the first time, twenty years later. As a lovely piano ballad, Keys talks about loving someone who doesn't feel the same. Whether this person is incapable of feeling the same way or just fell out of love down the road, she knows about what happens when you're the only one investing in your relationship. Despite the song being written two decades ago, the message it provides still rings true; especially in the age of situationships over relationships.

Following your heart has always been advised, but when your head is saying that your heart shouldn't be trusted, Alicia Keys wants you to know that it is OK if you leave your foolish heart behind. After all, drowning out what you know is right for what you hope is right, will only lead to pain.

Need some more music recommendations? Here are other songs out this week:

11. "Why Don't You Touch Me: Part 2" - Leon Bridges

12. "Vaccine" - Logic

13. "Hit Bout It" (Remix) - Lil Eazzyy

14. "Dancing With My Daddy" - Mila J ft. OG Dr Chill

15. "Red Light Green Light" - DaBaby

16. "Having Our Way" - Migos ft. Drake

17. "Drugs N Hella Melodies" - Don Toliver ft. Kali Uchis

18. "Working" - Khalid & Tate McRae

19. "Holiday" - KSI

20. "Wasting Time" - Brent Faiyaz ft. Drake

21. "I'm Not Okay, But I Know I'm Going To Be" - Raleigh Ritchie

22. "I Believed It" - dvsn & Ty Dolla $ign, Mac Miller

23. "You Right" - Doja Cat, The Weeknd

24. "You For Me" - Sigala & Rita Ora

25. "Slutty" - Desiigner

26. "Truffles" - Mike Jenkins

27. "Betty Bussit" - Big Freedia ft. Soaky Siren & Tank and The Bangas

28. "Patience" - Wesley Jospeh ft. Jorja Smith

29. "Higher" - Tems

30. "Lose My Mind" - Anthony Ramos

Featured image via Giphy

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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