Understanding the Black Lives Matter Movement through Music and Books

Discover Bold Type Books’ favorite music and reads for understanding the Black Lives Matter movement


How We Fight White Supremacy is a celebration of Black resistance and a blueprint for the fight for freedom and justice, featuring contributions from Ta-Nehisi Coates, Tarana Burke, Harry Belafonte, Kiese Laymon and more. In honor of the book’s publication, three DJs have created Liberation Playlists.


Check out the Liberation Playlist on Spotify


Listen to the How We Fight White Supremacy Liberation Playlist


Liberation Playlist by DJ Monday Blue

“I resist White supremacy by rejecting the notion that I should be anything other than my whole, unadulterated self; a self of my choice and creation.” —DJ Monday Blue

“Black Maybe,” Syreeta
“Woman of the Ghetto,” Marlena Shaw
“Otherside of the Game,” Erykah Badu
“Golden,” Jill Scott
“Blacks’ Magic,” Salt-N-Pepa
“Pure (Jay’s Original Vocal),” Blue Six, featuring Monique Bingham
“System,” Labelle

Tracy M. Adams, also known as DJ Monday Blue, is a licensed and registered physical therapist by day and a DJ by night. She believes that twirling on the dance floor is as therapeutic as planks.


Liberation Playlist by DJ Junior

“I use music as a tool for resistance in two ways. First, I find solitude in it. Its different genres, vibes, and textures are the soundtrack of my life. Second, I use music for inspiration. Sometimes it’s powerful lyrics, other times it’s pure musicianship. Either way, it pushes me as I resist, offering me salvation, fuel for my soul, and the will to continue the fight.” —DJ Junior, also known as D. Bruce Campbell Jr., PhD

“Down on Bended Knee,” Helsinki Headnod Convention
“Acknowledgement,” John Coltrane
“I Am the Black Gold of the Sun,” Rotary Connection
“Don’t Pat Me on the Back and Call Me Brother,” John W. Anderson Presents Kasandra
“Say It Loud I’m Black and I’m Proud,” James Brown
“To Be Young, Gifted, and Black,” Nina Simone
“Ego Tripping (there may be a reason why),” Nikki Giovanni
“Our Lives Are Shaped by What We Love,” Odyssey
“Fight the Power,” Public Enemy
“Alright,” Kendrick Lamar
“Africa,” D’Angelo
“Act Won (Things Fall Apart),” The Roots
“The Day Women Took Over,” Common, featuring BJ the Chicago Kid
“Black,” IG Culture
“K.O.S. (Determination),” Black Star
“Truth,” Kamasi Washington
“Philadelphia Child,” Ursula Rucker
“Liberation,” Outkast
“Beautiful Me,” Donnie
“UMI Says,” Mos Def
“Beautiful,” Joy Jones

D. Bruce Campbell Jr., PhD, is an associate professor in the School of Education at Arcadia University. Dr. Campbell runs the independent record label Record Breakin’ Music. He cohosts Eavesdrop Radio in Philadelphia and DJs internationally. He lives outside Philadelphia with his wife and son.


Liberation Playlist by Jay Smooth
“I resist White supremacy by loving my people, thinking about systems, and telling the truth.” —Jay Smooth

“Backlash Blues,” Nina Simone
“What Can I Do for You,” Labelle
“Wear Clean Draws,” The Coup
“In Time,” The Jungle Brothers
“In Time,” Sly and the Family Stone
“Original Faubus Fables,” Charles Mingus
“1,000 Deaths,” D’Angelo and The Vanguard
“Soldier,” Erykah Badu
“When Will We B Paid,” Prince
“ShapeShifters,” Invincible
“Bring the Noise,” Public Enemy
“Keep on Pushing,” The Impressions

Jay Smooth is the host of New York City’s longest-running hip-hop radio show, WBAI’s Underground Railroad, and the acclaimed cultural commentator on the Ill Doctrine video blog, where his dissections of race and politics have become teaching tools in schools around the country.



Explore our editors’ favorite books for understanding the Black Lives Matter movement.