Today is day two of Black History Month. And throughout this month I’ll feature Black artists across a wide and eclectic array of genres and styles that I think can guide you towards understanding the Black experience. Throughout the month I hope that you’ll appreciate these facts:
- Black culture is American culture — and Black music is American music.
- Black history is American history. The end.
- America’s greatest and beloved contributions to the world are Black music styles — the blues, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll and hip-hop.
- Black art matters.
- Black lives matter — all of them, all of the time.
When I got up today, my mind was set on one thing: the legendary Chaka Khan, one of the greatest voices in R&B and pop. Her flirtatious and brash cover of Prince‘s “I Feel For You” still slaps — and it was one of the first pop songs to prominently feature rap in any fashion, presaging much of what you’ve heard on the radio over the past 35 years. “I’m Every Woman” is a joyous feminist anthem. And she was down with the Black Panthers in their heyday. So fuck yes to all o that.