India.Arie’s “I Am Not My Hair” was created to respond to the idea of black people having the right to self-definition, concentrated in how one may style their hair. This song is geared mostly to black hair but can be used as a universal message for women and how they choose to wear their hair. There a common misconception that society gets to control what is that women and people of color get to do with their bodies – whether it be skin, hair, or internal. This song, however, tests this idea by saying you can’t check me in a box by what I look like on the outside, and therefore taking back the ability of self-definition, all in which leads to self-love.

Whenever I hear these lyrics, I feel a sense of mixture of understanding and empowerment. Every little black girl has gone through a wave of insecurity for having different features than the type of hair society says is acceptable. The definition of beauty in this society is originally modeled by typical European features, in which was and still used to oppress people of color. The lyrics contain a solid message about embracing the beauty within in spite of what society says. The lyrics alone makes the song, manifesting the power it has. The piano gives the song a softer feel and guitar gives the song a slight upbeat feel that you can bop to; the delivery of the lyrics is as soft as the music. Despite the music and the delivery being so soft compared to the lyrics, they are able to back up the lyrics by creating a welcoming sensation through the mildly upbeat plucks of the guitar.

I chose this song because even until this day, there are instances of discrimination, whether it is publicized or privatized, against black hair. There is a range of directions in which this conversation can go, whether it be in the workplace, or in a school setting, and more on. Little black girls shouldn’t be given detention or suspended from school for wearing their natural hair, braids, or weaves. Little black boys should not have to choose between their hair and their eligibility to play a sport or their hair and the ability to graduate. More than qualified black men and women shouldn’t be turned down from jobs because of how their hair looks. And there should not be a law that make discriminating against hair illegal because that’s just blasphemous. I don’t have a concern when speaking on this topic because one’s NATURAL hair, that grows from their own scalp, is not a violation of school, company, and, especially, society’s policy.


Angie Stone’s “Brotha” was created to, simply, uplift black men. Stone stated in an interview back in 2007 staying that some black men had a problem with the idea of women making more money than them and how assists in tearing down black families; so she created a song that expresses love for the black, telling them that they are seen and will not be ignored nor judged. The song also challenges stereotypes and misconceptions of the black men. In order to do so, she sings about the good things that black men do or what they embody. She exclaims that there are black men who are educated and employed, despite the stigma, while also calling black men “kings,” as they once were before the days of slavery, and using the word “Brotha” as a term of endearment, which is common in the black community.

The genre of music is categorized as R&B, soul, and neo-soul, all in which are genres that are popularized by black musicians. Out of the three genres, the song is mostly neo-soul, best described as having conscious-driven lyrics, which is a mixture of contemporary R&B, jazz, funk, hip hop, electronic, pop, fusion, funk, and afrobeat. These mixtures of genres and the delivery create what I like to call “feel good music” When you hear the music itself, all you want to do is bop to it along with the bass and percussions. When you listening to her style of delivery, you fine that it is assertive and fierce, but also welcoming and soulful. The idea of it being “feel good music” is relevant to the social conditions that the song is responding to, making black men feel good about being black men.

I recently rediscovered this song about two weeks ago and have been listening to it nonstop. The chorus goes,” Black brotha, I love ya/ And I’ll never try to hurt ya/ I want you to know that/ I’m here for you, forever true/ ’Cause you’re my black brother, strong brotha/ There is no one above ya.” I feel very connected to the lyrics because I feel this exact way. Black men are pictured as dangerous, failures, absent, and are criminalized, but unlike the lyrics, which paints them as something beautiful, successful, welcoming, and worthy; the something that I see in black men all the time.

I chose this song because I talk a lot about what it means to be a black woman int his society hand how hard it is for us, but I thought why not try to look at it from a man’s perspective. So, I looked at three of these three social issues: facing discrimination for being black, being black a black man, and being a black man in America. Though these issues are in close similarity to one of another but are not on the same level of severity as far as being a social issue goes. These misconceptions of black men are normalized in our society, so to hear a song that fights to challenge them is important; especially for those who are affected by these misconceptions or participate in them. There is not enough conversation about the non-negative conceptions of black men, so choosing this song serves as an excuse to start up that conversation. My only concern is being able to find a lot material similar to the “brighter” side of this matter; there will be enough material but there might not be a myriad of material, simply because it paints black men in a lighter manner.