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All The Songs You Need On Your Playlist Right Now

From Tyler, the Creator to Nao, here's what's currently in our rotation.

Music

A few years ago, psychologists studied the correlation between seasons and romantic relationships. They concluded that the colder the weather, the more likely a relationship had a chance to thrive, hence, "cuffing season." Nevertheless, the warmer the weather, the more likely a relationship is to fail, consequently creating the term, "uncuffing season." "Uncuffing season" is defined as a period, usually the spring and summer, when "people who were previously in relationships during the winter break-up to be free for the summer and warm months." The idea is that once the relationship has concluded, one is able to play the field and not be tied down by the pestering obligations of a relationship. And unfortunately, this seems to be the case for the artists this week.


No longer singing about the best parts, we've entered in the phase of summertime sadness; and boy, is this summer scheduled to be a doozy. Between Leon Bridges' constant questions in "Why Don't You Touch Me," Nao's refusal to return to "Messy Love," and Cynthia Erivo choosing to remember only "The Good" parts of her relationship, it seems like everyone is being "uncuffed" and sent to enjoy their summers alone. Though, there might be light at the end of this tunnel yet. Why? Well, because if they're sent to join their summer's alone, chances are you are, too.

If that's the case, you'll have a couple of new ballads, and upbeat songs, that can help you make it through your summer blues, before finding yet another in the fall and winter months.

1. "Why Don't You Touch Me: Part 1" - Leon Bridges

With his new album Gold—Diggers Sound coming out July 23, 2021, Leon Bridges has arrived with part one of two singles, "Why Don't You Touch Me: Part 1" (you can listen to "Part 2" here). Like all of his other singles, Bridges' music feels like it has been written and sung by someone beyond his years. In "Why Don't You Touch Me: Part 1," Bridges wonders the title amongst other things, particularly why his lover doesn't seem to love him anymore.

Despite "dressin' to the nines" and his desires to do whatever to improve the relationship, Bridges' lover is distracted by the glitter and gold and continues to fade away. It's sad that his lover doesn't seem to be in love with him anymore, but the saddest part might be the fact that his relationship is ending and he doesn't even know why.

2. "Mad" - Hope Tala

To avoid the "Heartbreak Olympics," I won't say that one heartbreak is worse than the other. Although, when it comes to heartbreak, nothing quite matches the sting that comes from unrequited love. In Hope Tala's newest single "Mad," the 23-year-old London artist sings about having a lover fall out of love, while she is still head over heels. The song plays with an enticing allure, combining an acoustic guitar with a groove reminiscent of Bossa nova and a slowed samba, instead of a piano ballad.

As if her rage is simmering, Tala doesn't raise her voice, but allows her repetition of her wanting to tear her hair out to show her frustrations and sadness to her lover's sudden change in mind. At the end of the song, she is left with more questions than answers, which seems to be the new way of breaking up (a la the previously mentioned "Why Don't You Touch Me"). With her lover not answering her calls, it's hard to say if she'll get the closure she needs to extinguish her inevitable explosion.

3. "Messy Love" - Nao

After the early (leaked) release of her newest single, Nao has officially released "Messy Love" from her upcoming third album. Like her single "Make It Out Alive," in "Messy Love," Nao tells of a love that was once cherished turning into a burden. In a trope that I am glad to see artists taking, Nao decides to place self-love, self-respect, and inner peace over the struggles and insecurities created by an unstable and exhaustive relationship.

Old Nao might've had the energy to chase her lover, she might've had the energy to roll around and enjoy the mess of it all. Nevertheless, after one too many heartbreaks, Nao has reached a place in her life where she refuses to return back to "messy love."

She wants her love to know that she cares about him, but in the end, she will choose herself and her progress over everything, including this relationship.

4. "Wusyaname" - Tyler, the Creator ft. YoungBoy Never Broke Again & Ty Dolla Sign

Only Tyler, the Creator would walk up to a complete stranger and use "Aw, you look malnourished" as a pick-up line. Strangely for Tyler, the Creator, this seems well within his playbook and still might have the potential to work. In his recently released single "Wusyaname," Tyler, the Creator falls in love with a woman at first sight. Pursuing the woman, he hopes to get her attention by hurling insulting compliments one after the other. Creator's advancements are so contradictory that it wouldn't be surprising if this woman had experienced whiplash.

Although, after saying, "That's when I met 'She'"—a reference to his Goblin album and "She" track—it is clear to the audience that this woman probably deserves it. As if jumping into a time machine, the audience is given the moment that eventually leads to the chaotic moment that unravels in his and Frank Ocean's "She." In addition to this magic track, Tyler, the Creator's "Lumberjack" and "Brown Sugar Salmon" singles are out, too.

5. "2 You" - Mariah the Scientist

Something is in the water, and apparently it's forcing everyone to confront or end their relationships. Regardless of what it is, "2 You" is the newest single from Mariah the Scientist's upcoming project, Ry Ry World. In the song, the Atlanta-based artist reflects on a failed relationship. Pointing out her ex's flaws, Mariah addresses feeling disappointing in the direction of their relationship and embarrassment from allowing it to go on for so long. Unlike the singles mentioned before, Mariah the Scientist doesn't wonder why the relationship has ended or how they got there. Instead, she wonders why she doesn't feel at peace with this decision, despite knowing that it was for the best.

6. "BYE" - Jaden

Most artists have something that makes them uniquely and utterly them. For instance, SZA has her word play. J. Cole has his storytelling. Kendrick Lamar has his poetic prose and Jaden has his…well, everything? When I say this, I don't mean it negatively, I mean that Jaden is never the same person when a single is released. This is even shown in his name change from Jaden Smith, to just Jaden. For most artists, the constant change between genres, flow, writing, and artistry wouldn't work. It would make the listener feel like they are following too many artists at once. But for Jaden, it seems to be the main thing keeping his artistry afloat.

In his newest single, "BYE" Jaden ventures to the beach in hopes of repairing his broken relationship. Despite its melancholy theme, the song comes off as a light summer pop/hip-hop track, which juxtaposes the song released from the previous album. Although the songs from Syre are hip-hop tracks, "BYE" leans more into the pop genre with its layered harmonies and almost synthetic voice.

7. "t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l" - WILLOW ft. Travis Barker

There is a special kind of wonderful when a Black woman is in the alternative/indie genre. There is an even more special kind of wonderful when she seems like she'll dominate the genre, if given the chance. Returning with Blink 182 drummer, Travis Baker, Willow Smith has released a new hit, "Transparent Soul." The single is mixture of the early 2000s alternative/rock and 80s grunge, with a new 2021 spin. Her voice is powerful and dominating as she sings about being able to see through all of the lies of her subject. Whether she is talking to a lover, former friend, or just an over confident stranger, Willow puts her subject in their place as she tries to navigate between friends and foe.

8. "Pasadena" - Tinashe ft. Buddy

I just can't stop smiling when I hear this song. This is a bop, a groove, a shimmy, and a shake.. Ahead of her fifth album, Tinashe returns with her exhilarating new single "Pasadena." This upbeat track focuses on the pride and joy one obtains when they live freely and embrace the moment. With a fun video filled with group dancing, penthouses, and a beautiful skyline, "Pasadena" has the potential to be a song you need on repeat this summer.

9. "Bed Friend" - Jacquees ft. Queen Naija

With his newest single from his new album P.T.O.F, Jacquees and Queen Naija team up to tell the story of friends who've become lovers. Unlike the typical "friends with benefits" set up, Jacquees talks about falling in love with his best friend while still being in a relationship with another. He knows that his desire for his friend over his girlfriend is wrong, but he can't seem to stop making comparisons and he can't seem to want to invest in his relationship because of this. He is aware that he and his best friend are moving past the boundaries of their friendship, though, despite this knowledge he leans fully in, hoping that the relationship "doesn't end in a dead in." After all, if this doesn't work out, Jacquees is aware that he has more to lose than just "Bed Friend."

10. "The Good" - Cynthia Erivo

The last five years have been kind to Cynthia Erivo. Between her discovery in London, her Tony, Grammy, and Emmy awards, her roles in blockbuster movies (Harriet, Bad Times at the El Royale, and Widows), and the Aretha Franklin mini series, she has shown that hard work truly pays off. Now, she is tackling another milestone, this one in the form of her upcoming debut album. From Ch. 1 vs. 1, Erivo has released her newest single "The Good." The song tells a story about a failed relationship, but instead of mourning its absence, she choose to remember the good times. Despite the somber lyrics, the song is upbeat and almost playful while she sings soulfully and powerfully. Released during Pride Month, Erivo's video has her in a tumultuous same-sex relationship, which is rarely seen between two Black women, unless you're counting the recent season of Masters of None.

Keep scrolling for more singles released in the week of June 18 to June 25!

"Feeling Good" - Chloe Bailey

"Talk About It" - Jungle

"Letter to My Daughter" - NLE Chopper

"Live from the Country" - Logic

"Wish List" - Joey Trap

"Muddy Flow" - Kill Jasper

"Genesis" - Azizi Gibson ft. AKTHESAVIOR

"You the Type" - CJ Fly

DaBaby - "Ball If I Want To"

"LAW OF AVERAGES" - Vince Staples

"Angles" - Wale ft. Chris Brown

"When You Love Someone" - Tone Stith ft. H.E.R.

"Formwela 5" - Esperanza Spalding ft. Corey King 

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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.

Reparations

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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