Black History Month is about celebrating the achievements of African Americans and recognizing the central role black people and black culture has played in the history of the United States. It is also a time for reflection and enlightenment, no matter your race, in hopes of promoting equality for everyone. Who better to school you with some knowledge than some of the brightest minds in music. From Nina Simone to Kendrick Lamar, these socially conscious artists will wake you the eff up!

kendrick

The reason why I know you very well, ’cause we have the same eyes, can’t you tell? The days I tried to cover up and conceal my pride, it only made it harder for me to deal.

Real by Kendrick Lamar

 tupac

And since we all came from a woman, got our name from a woman and our game from a woman, I wonder why we take from our women, why we rape our women. Do we hate our women? I think it’s time to kill for our women, time to heal our women, be real to our women. And if we don’t we’ll have a race of babies that will hate the ladies, that make the babies. And since a man can’t make one, he has no right to tell a woman when and where to create one. So will the real men get up? I know you’re fed up ladies, but keep your head up.

Keep Ya Head Up by Tupac Shakur

lupe

To make gold from garbage is not the alchemical point of this math. But truth be told, it’s the pursuit of gold that turns the goal of men into trash. The soul’s gold, and they turning gold into cash.

Dots and Lines by Lupe Fiasco

 publicen

Our freedom of speech is freedom or death.

Fight The Power by Public Enemy

 janet

With music by our side to break the color lines, let’s work together to improve our way of life; join voices in protest to social injustice. A generation full of courage come forth with me people of the world today. Are we looking for a better way of life? We are a part of the rhythm nation, people of the world unite! Strength in numbers, we can get it right one time. We are a part of the rhythm nation.

Rhythm Nation by Janet Jackson

hopsin

Without the knowledge to lead, so you just follow the sheep, making sure your lame swag is all polished and clean, while your favorite rapper’s like, “Yeah, he got it from me.” You been brainwashed by a fake life that you’re used to livin’. When I say the word “fun,” what do you envision? Probably drinking and smoking out with your crew, and chilling with clueless women you trying to bang, bumping New Edition. Is that all you think life really is? Well if so, then you’re a fucking idiot I honestly feel like grabbing your head and hitting it. Matter of fact, you don’t even deserve a brain; GIMME IT!

Ill Mind of Hopsin 5 by Hopsin

 child

The black experience is black and serious. ‘Cause being black, my experience, is no one hearin’ us. White kids get to wear whatever hat they want. When it comes to black kids, one size fits all.

Hold You Down by Childish Gambino

 marvin

“Mother, mother, there’s too many of you crying. Brother, brother, brother, there’s far too many of you dying. You know we’ve got to find a way, to bring some lovin’ here today. Father, father, we don’t need to escalate. You see, war is not the answer, for only love can conquer hate. Picket lines and picket signs; don’t punish me with brutality. Talk to me, so you can see, oh, what’s going on.”

What’s Going On by Marvin Gaye

 michael

Love was taken from a young life, and no one told her why. Her direction has a dime light, from one more violent crime she innocently questioned, why, why her father had to die. She asked the men in blue, “How is it that you get to choose who will live and who will die? Did God say that you could decide? You saw he didn’t run, and that my daddy had no gun.”

We’ve Had Enough by Michael Jackson

 jimmy

Yeah that’s what we don’t wanna hear any more, alright. No bullets. At least here, huh huh. No guns.  No bombs. Huh huh. No nothin’. Just let’s all live and live, you know, instead of killin’.

Machine Gun by Jimi Hendrix

nina

Picket lines, school boycotts, they try to say it’s a communist plot. All I want is equality for my sister, my brother, my people, and me.”

Mississippi Goddam by Nina Simone

bob

That until there no longer first class and second class citizens of any nation. Until the color of a man’s skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes, me say war. That until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all, without regard to race; Dis a war.

– War by Bob Marley

 lauryn

Sometimes it seems we’ll touch that dream, but things come slow or not at all. And the ones on top, won’t make it stop, so convinced that they might fall. Let’s love ourselves and we can’t fail to make a better situation. Tomorrow, our seeds will grow. All we need is dedication. Let me tell ya that.

Everything is Everything by Lauryn Hill

 commonleg

The biggest weapon is to stay peaceful. We sing, our music is the cuts that we bleed through. Somewhere in the dream we had an epiphany. Now we right the wrongs in history. No one can win the war individually. It takes the wisdom of the elders and young people’s energy. Welcome to the story we call victory.

Glory (from the motion picture Selma) by John Legend and Common

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