It’s Black History Month, a time to uplift and celebrate the historic events and people of African descent who have contributed to culture, achieved excellence and sparked social and political change. But it’s also a moment for reflection, of honestly evaluating how much — and how little — has changed for the African diaspora throughout the US, Latin America and beyond.
Confronting the everyday violence, discrimination, disadvantages and inequality Black individuals have and continue to endure, while necessary, could be enraging and upsetting, and makes self-care practices all the more necessary.
This year, whether you’re celebrating the beauty, resilience and magia of blackness with a Black History Month party or well-deserved care day, music can always add to the occasion. Here, a mix of Spanish and English songs by Afro-Latinas and for Black women that unapologetically declare self-love and engage in self-worship to add to any Black joy playlist for the month of February and all the days that follow it.
1. Celebrate being a daughter of “La Diaspora” with Nitty Scott.
When the Afro-Boricua rapper dropped Creature in 2017, she gifted Black women, particularly Black Latinx femmes, with a full project that saw, understood and exalted their existence. None of the bangers on the LP did this as intentionally as the song and short film “La Diaspora.”
2. Make your voice and joy heard with Christina Milian’s “Say I”
When the cubana teamed with Young Jeezy to drop this 2009 bop, she encouraged women to “do what you want to do. Don’t let nobody tell you what you’re supposed to do.” And that’s some pretty liberating ishh.
3. Some might call you “CRZY,” but Kehlani wants you to embrace the term.
Confidently dancing to the beat of your own drum, especially as a woman of color, is neither expected nor welcomed, largely because it makes it more difficult for white supremacy to thrive. With “CRZY,” the part-Mexican R&B songstress encourages femmes to embrace and reclaim the slights people throw at you for being a radiant, go-getting mami.
4. And Calma Carmona’s “I Got Life” shows that there is so much to be joyous about.
In her Spanglish rendition of Nina Simone’s “I Ain’t Got No … I Got Life,” the Puerto Rican soul singer declares all the beauty she has, from her voice, to her hair, to her smile to her life, in a world that told her she has nothing.
5. Something else you have: “Tumbao.”
In la reina de salsa’s multi-generational hit “La Negra Tiene Tumbao,” the late cubana Celia Cruz reminds Black women of that unfading, indescribable, swing and swag that Black women carry with them in every space they occupy.
6. Prefer an English joint? Cardi B will also remind you how “Bad” you are.
With “She Bad,” featuring YG, the Dominican-Trinidadian rapper engages in self-worship and encourages other Black women to feel themselves and own their sexuality without apprehension or apologies.
7. ‘Cause Like Maluca told you, you’re “la mami del block.”
In the Dominican singer-rapper’s mega bop “El Tigeraso,” Maluca makes the indisputable claim that Afro-Latinas have it all: “tengo fly, tengo party, tengo una sabrosura.”
8. And like Farina says, not everyone is deserving of your greatness.
In “la nena fina’s” urbano-pop jam “Mucho Pa’ Ti,” the colombiana raps what everyone knows: She, and you, are too much — too poppin’, too powerful, too radiant — for the unworthy.
9. Now that you’re reminded of who you are, enter every space like Melii walked into the club in her music video for “Icey.”
With sparkly, high-heeled white boots, a laced v-neck bodysuit, some tiny red shades and confidence that entraps you, dominicana-cubana Melii knows her value — as a woman and an artist — and watching or listening to how self-assured she is will undoubtedly rub off on you.
10. ‘Cause at the end of the day, you’re a “Million Dollar Girl” like Trina.
Like the Dominican-Bahamian rapper, alongside Keri Hilson and Diddy, told you in 2010: “Baby if I want it, I got it / ‘Cause I’ll be gettin’ some more / ‘Cause I’m a million dollar girl, for sure.”