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LiisBeth Playlist #11: ELECTION DAY USA

Playlist features 10 bands/musicians including Skunk Anansie, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Jhené Aiko and more…

Happy election day, everyone! Whether you were an early voter or promised yourself that you’d be at the polls today, chances are that you’re feeling some pins and needles right about now. In that spirit, we have crafted a playlist to help get you through one of the most important elections of our lifetimes. Here’s hoping that this playlist will ease your stress, get you through that shift at your local poll station, and remind you that regardless of who wins this round, we’ve got more work to do. Political World – Carolina Chocolate Drops If the prospect of waking up is feeling a little heavy and you need some encouragement to get your butt out of bed, treat yourself to this Carolina Chocolate Drops cover of a Bob Dylan classic. This blue-grassy anthem, underscored with an energetic beat box, is almost as good as caffeine and is sure to help you get this day started. The lyrics are 30 years old, but the vibe is as fresh as ever. Yes, It’s Fucking Political – Skunk Anasie Now that we’re all awake and ready to face the reality of the day, let’s enjoy a heaping earful of Skunk Anasie and remind ourselves that, yes, everything is political. If you find yourself in the middle of a conversation with one of your moderate or apolitical friends today, offer them this slice of 90s grunge and remind them that the only people who can be apolitical are those who aren’t on the wrong end of institutional prejudice. Mask, Gloves, Soap, Scrubs – Todrick Hall hey! Where do you think you’re going? We’re still in the middle of a pandemic here, so we’re going to need you to mask up before you get on with your day. Whether you’re voting, working at your local poll station, or getting in one last round of door-knocking – if you’re out and about jam along with Todrick Hall. This song is a mostly whimsical throwback to what was on our minds at the beginning of the pandemic – and it’s just the boost you’re going to need to walk out the door this morning. And wash up when you get back. <3 My Vote Will Count – YelloPain, Sevyn Streeter YelloPain has reworked his pessimistically titled “My Vote Don’t Count” from earlier this year, renaming it “My Vote Will Count” and adding a stunning vocal feature from Sevyn Streeter. The new track is an abbreviated version of its predecessor, but still has the same basic thesis: vote in every election. YelloPain explains the three branches of the US government and their corresponding responsibilities, explaining the importance of the legislative and judicial branches with relevant, accessible examples. Give it a couple listens and congratulate yourself for researching every seat that was up for elections this year. Vote – Jhené Aiko This chill track is exactly what you are going to want buzzing in your earbuds while you fill out your ballot. You don’t need me to overhype this one. Just get to the ballot. Fill out the ballot. And focus on your vote. Carry Something – Tawny Newsome, Bethany Thomas, feat. Ted Leo As you leave the polls, think about the rest of your day. Do you know anyone who needs a ride to a polling station? Is there a friend stressing about the election who could use a friendly facetime? What can you do to help? While you ponder this question, treat yourself to “Carry Something”. This delightfully literal song is half lo-fi lullaby and half face-melting guitar solo. Equal parts earnest and comedic, this is exactly the palette cleanser you need to get on with your 2020. Americans – Janelle Monae Whether you’re new to the social justice bandwagon or you have been driving this baby around the block for as long as you can remember, take this opportunity to sing along with “Americans”, arguably one of Janelle Monae’s best tracks. Energetic, poppy, and optimistic, Monae lays out the American Catch-22: we love this place and we feel privileged to be Americans, but gosh darn it, this country has a shameful legacy of violence, prejudice, and hatred. Luckily, most of us have agreed that there is no greater patriotism than choosing to stick around and make our country better. We’ll defend our land. La Canción Es Protesta – Yorka Yorka’s bare-bones duet, written in response to the Chilean protests in 2019, is as chilling as it is gorgeous. Lyrically, it is dark and specific, but it also reminds the listener that art is a powerful form of protest. If you’re feeling it, let yourself be artistic today. Remember that you can use your art to call attention to important ideas, to unite like-minded people, or just as a measure of self-care. Even during times as scary as these, our art can be the light that soothes, unites, and inspires us. March March – The Chicks This slow burn of a song is for those of you who are fighting the good fight on your own. Maybe you’re the one person in your town who protested on behalf of black lives, maybe you’re the only house on your block with a Pride flag, or maybe you’re the lone voice at city council meetings demanding that the ICE facility in your town reunite children with their parents. Whatever your battle, and however lonely you feel, let this be your anthem. Brought to us from a group that survived losing everything after speaking truth to power, this percussive, folksy song is a reminder that we can keep marching even when the road is lonely. Revolution Lover – Left at London We did it, fam. The day is over. We exercised our democratic right to vote, we lent a helping hand, we made some art and – goshdarnit – we did it all with ours masks on. Sing yourself out alongside Left at London and remind yourself that no matter how hopeless you’ve been feeling, we’re going to make it out of this one alive. Talk to someone you love or someone who’s been working on the revolution alongside you and let them know how much you appreciate them. And then maybe unplug for the night and spend a little quality time with your revolution lover. Thanks for rocking out alongside us for this election. Let us know what songs you would add in the comments section below. If you were inspired to make any art along the way, we’d love to see it!


Enjoy this list on Spotify here:

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Allied Arts & Media Our Voices

Listen Up! July Playlist for Feminist Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurship and transformative work is hard, socially, financially, and personally. There are surprises and mind benders at every turn.  To succeed, you sometimes have to get out of your comfort zone. This reality makes LiisBeth’s summer playlist ideal listening for feminist entrepreneurs.

If you’ve somehow found yourself suddenly lost, cursing the heavens, or just looking for some emerging artist music that challenges you, aids reflection, and inspires, then take a deep breath, turn off your phone, close the curtains in the middle of the day, turn up the volume, and steep in the incredible force of raw, powerful, creative female energy.

This playlist is curated exclusively for LiisBeth by Urbanology’s Sadé Powell.

 

The Sorority ft. Leila Day, “Ladies Night”

For this past International Women’s Day, these ladies of The Sorority from the 6ix got together for a good ol’ fashioned ladies’ night. The video pays tribute to the original 1997 song of the same name by Left Eye, Angie Martinez, Missy Elliott, Da Brat and Lil’ Kim. In this version, rappers Haviah Mighty, Keysha Freshh, Lex Leosis, and pHoenix Pagliacci deliver bar after bar of solidarity with all women, Muslims, and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Denai Moore, “Does It Get Easier?”

In her most recent video, Jamaican-born, London-based songstress Denai Moore uses her sweet, soothing voice to ponder one of the many questions we ask ourselves as we crawl through everyday obstacles: “Does it get easier? Does life get easier?” Moore addresses both the good and bad aspects of life while rejecting neither. The visuals juxtapose images of different family relationships with that of Moore’s own family to portray how similar we really are.

Jorja Smith, “Beautiful Little Fools”

There’s a line in the book The Great Gatsby in which the lead female character, Daisy, talks about her daughter: “I hope she’ll be a fool – that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.” It was this line that inspired UK singer Jorja Smith to challenge that testimony through music. In “Beautiful Little Fools,” a video released on International Women’s Day, Smith addresses the social limitations that are placed on women every day.

Willow Smith, “Female Energy”

At 13 years young, Willow Smith plays within the atmosphere of her female energy as she makes the transition from childhood to womanhood in this psychedelic music video. Now at age 16, Smith has clearly shown growth into the realm of neo-soul in contrast to her 2010 pop debut with “Whip My Hair.” Mature well beyond her years, Smith demonstrates that the understanding of self doesn’t have to come later in life.

Junglepussy, “ME”

If there was a way to put a selfie in video form, “ME” would be it. However, it’s not only the surface image that you see; it’s what leads up to the selfie and makes up its beauty without the need for filters. The Brooklyn-bred Shayna McHayle better known as Junglepussy illustrates herself as carefree and unapologetic as she sways from a tire swing in the forest, stars in her own infomercial, and becomes the life of an underground party. McHayle even takes time to pay homage to some of her biggest inspirations such as Erykah Badu, Missy Elliot and Lil’ Kim.

FKA twigs, “M3LL155X”

The five-song visual EP titled “M3LL155X” (pronounced “Melissa”) is accompanied by four hypnotically beautiful videos layered with complex themes about domination, submission, femininity, and fluidity. It is undoubtedly a world created by American singer-songwriter and producer FKA twigs, a woman who is often misunderstood and simplified. In “M3LL155X,” FKA twigs shows us just a piece of who she is, but she doesn’t make it easy for anyone to label or define her.

Janelle Monáe, “Cold War”

American singer Janelle Monáe gets up close and personal in the visual for “Cold War,” a moving single that was shot all in one take. Shortly after the minute and a half mark, Monáe gets emotional while mouthing the words, “I was made to believe there’s something wrong with me.” Before performing the song at the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Concert, she explains that the lyrics depict a time when she didn’t feel empowered being an African-American woman. She closes by stating that she hopes the song will inspire other women and young girls to find their power.

Laura Mvula, “Phenomenal Woman”

Laura Mvula whisks us away to the beautiful district of Bo-Kaap in Cape Town, South Africa, where the streets are vibrant and alive with colour. Mvula bellows from the depth of her diaphragm, “You are a phenomenal woman!” while surrounded by some pretty fierce, fly ladies grooving to the sound of her voice and the powerful words of her song. In a press release, the British singer had this to say about the track: “We are the givers of life, we are the children bearers, the nurturers, the heroines. We are extraordinary in our ordinariness. We fly, we fight, we are ‘Phenomenal Woman.’” The song was initially inspired by a poem of the same name written by the late Maya Angelou.

Jessie Reyez, “Gatekeeper”

Jessie Reyez’s “Gatekeeper” is a short film that takes us behind the scenes of what it’s like to be a woman in the music industry, you know, the not-so-glamorous part that’s riddled with misogyny and sexism. For Reyez, it’s been a jarring reality.

Kehlani, “Bright”

R&B singer Kehlani Parrish was shocked when her project “You Should Be Here” was up for Best Urban Contemporary Album in 2015 even though it was actually a mixtape. The song “Bright” stood out amongst its peers as not being a song about falling in or out with a significant other, but about falling in love with yourself.


Additional playlists from LiisBeth:

A Cure for Chaos: A Playlist to Feed Your Heart and Mind

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Body, Mind & Pleasure

A Cure for Chaos: A Playlist To Feed Your Heart and Mind

As countless instances of hatred and discrimination from across the world flood news headlines and conversations, it almost seems like the idea of peace is hanging on by a thread. One thing that remains universal, however, is the magic of music and how it continues to bring people together despite their differences.

Now it’s possible that the world could literally be crumbling before our eyes, but let’s press pause on the panic button and check out 10 songs that promote empowerment, equality, and human rights that may help restore your faith in humanity.

Amaal Nuux, “Who Are We”

Somali-Canadian singer Amaal Nuux shares words of unity through her tantalizing anthem, “Who Are We,” the second single she released late last year after taking a four-year hiatus from music. Learn more about this single at Urbanology.

 

Austra, “Future Politics”

Toronto band Austra imagines a better future in politics and humanity with powerful lyrics that are just as gripping as the song’s visuals.

 

TiKA the Creator, “Tenfold”

The very image of radiance, Toronto-based artist TiKA the Creator paints a picture of solidarity for Black female creatives within the city in her single “Tenfold.”

 

A Tribe Called Red ft. Saul Williams, “The Virus”

Prominent Indigenous music group A Tribe Called Red teams up with poet/musician Saul Williams for a politically charged project filled with climatic drums and a riveting mix of vocal elements.

 

Kimmortal, “Brushing By Heaven’s Shoulder (Remix)”

A queer, Filipina hailing from Vancouver, Kim Villagante, a.k.a. Kimmortal, combines zealous lyrics with her own animations to tackle issues faced by women of colour for “Brushing By Heaven’s Shoulder,” a remix off her 2014 debut album Sincerity.

 

Maiko Watson, “Everyman”

Based on a poem her mother wrote, Guyanese-Canadian singer-songwriter Maiko Watson croons over guitar strums while recounting the 2012 fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by neighbourhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida.

 

Petra Glynt, “Sour Paradise”

Inspired by anarchist and poet Hakim Bey’s T.A.Z.: The Temporary Autonomous Zone, musical artist Petra Glynt creates psychedelic yet militant-style visuals that urge for a drastic change in the world amongst the constant displays of discrimination and inequality.

 

Lizzo, “My Skin”

Self-proclaimed feminist Lizzo is constantly promoting self-love and empowerment in her music and “My Skin” is one of the many that stand out. The Minneapolis artist strips down to a plain bodysuit, wearing minimal makeup and her natural curls to show her adoration for the skin she’s in. To learn more about Lizzo, check out her interview with Urbanology.

 

Aaradhna, “Brown Girl”

New Zealand native Aaradhna uses her sultry voice in “Brown Girl” to let the world know that she’s more than just the colour of her skin.

 

Shi Wisdom, “Young Gunner”

Shot in the alleys of Toronto, Shi Wisdom tells an all too familiar story with her powerful song “Young Gunner.” The lyrics and gritty visuals speak to the influx of instances where unarmed black males are gunned down by white men who are often in positions of authority. She spoke in depth with Urbanology about the single.

 

About the writer: Sadé Powell is a staff writer for Toronto-based publication Urbanology Magazine and gets her kicks from penning stories on various forms of music, technology, and her outrageously extensive list of other interests. Find her on Twitter at @playsade.