Anna Leary — Let’s dive in to Vexteo’s first Playlist for Action .
My college friend Brandi is amazing. She was president of our student council and one of the very few African American students on our tiny, Christian university campus in the North Georgia mountains. While we weren’t super close while in school, in the 20 years since we met I have followed her career as a college admissions rock star to working with high school students who are preparing for their secondary education.
One thing that emanates from Brandi is passion. She’s passionate about her work and her life. She’s passionate about making a difference in the lives of students who want to do something with their lives too.
A while back she shared a Facebook post that I have been thinking about for so long (possibly years?), I finally wanted to do something about it. She wrote about what really brings her joy and it’s music (me too, Brandi, ME TOO). She started a playlist of songs that reminded her of the work she does, how she can help make the world a better place, and how songs can express what she simply can’t always fully articulate.
I created a Spotify playlist featuring all the songs Brandi posted that day plus a few of my own. From Sam Cooke to Kendrick Lamar, with a healthy dose of Mavis Staples, she expressed in song why she gets up and faces the world with bravery each day.
I really appreciate how many of the artists she listed are black/African-American (yes, there is a difference — quick tip: not all black and brown people are of African descent or choose to identify as such). Our country has marginalized people of color since our inception and from that, protest songs have arisen to showcase the injustice, and what we can do about it. How we can fight back.
Whether it be of a political nature (ahem, like mine) or you just need some music that spurs you to action on something you really want to get done — with Brandi’s help and inspiration, we’ve compiled a playlist that will certainly get you moving. And please know, we used the full/unedited version of each song. There may be strong language, but that’s part of the art.
If you have any songs that inspire YOU to action, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know about them.
Also, the Vexteo “Get Up, Get Out!” Spotify playlist is collaborative and will allow you to add your favorite songs. Happy listening!
Nina Cried Power: Hozier, Mavis Staples
Dear Mr. President: P!nk, Indigo Girls
We The People: A Tribe Called Quest
The Times They Are A-Changin: Bob Dylan
A Change Is Gonna Come: Sam Cooke
Alright: Kendrick Lamar
Don’t Touch My Hair: Sonlange, Sampha
Fight The Power: Public Enemy
For What It’s Worth: Buffalo Springfield
Fortunate Son: Creedance Clearwater Revival
Freedom: Beyonce, Kendrick Lamar
Get Up, Stand Up: Bob Marley & The Wailers
Glory: Common, John Legend
Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler): Marvin Gaye
Keep Ya Head Up: 2Pac
I Give You Power: Arcade Fire, Mavis Staples
This Land: Gary Clark Jr.
Lift Every Voice and Sing: Melinda Doolittle (Aretha Franklin cover)
Man in the Mirror: Michael Jackson
Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology): Marvin Gaye
People Get Ready: The Impressions
Say It Loud – I’m Black and Proud: James Brown
Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday
Immigrants (We Get The Job Done): K’NAAN, Snow Tha Product, Riz MC, Residente
History Has Its Eyes on You: Christopher Jackson, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton Original Broadway Cast
My Shot: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Anthony Ramos, Daveed, Hamilton Original Broadway Cast
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Gil Scott-Heron
Talkin’ Bout a Revolution: Tracy Chapman
We Shall Not Be Moved: Mavis Staples
Black America Again: Common, Stevie Wonder
U.N.I.T.Y.: Queen Latifah
To Be Young, Gifted and Black – 2005 Remix: Nina Simone
Make America Great Again: Pussy Riot
Know Your Rights: The Clash
This Is America: Childish Gambino
Rise Up: Andra Day
Who Tells Your Story: The Roots, Common, Ingrid Michaelson
Wade In The Water: The Staple Singers
War: Edwin Starr
We Ready: Archie Eversole
No Guns Allowed: Snoop Lion, Drake, Cori B.
Teenagers: My Chemical Romance
Holiday: Green Day
Mi Gente: J Balvin, Willy William, Beyonce
American Oxygen: Rihanna
Run the World: Beyonce
Water Guns: Todrick Hall, Jordin Sparks
Vivir Mi Vida: Marc Anthony
Disappear: Mike Faist, Ben Platt, Kristolyn Lloyd, Will Roland, Jennifer Laura Thompson, Original Broadway Cast of Dear Evan Hansen
Kids in America: Kim Wilde
El Mismo Sol: Alvaro Soler, Jennifer Lopez
Found/Tonight: Ben Platt, Lin Manuel-Miranda
Thoughts & prayers: grandson
Anna Leary is happy to have survived her Evangelical upbringing, her Christian college experience, and is glad that music as an extension of her expression was instilled since her first rock concert at the age of 4. She’s continuing this musical tradition with her own kids.