We’ve heard from a lot of friends that they are having difficulty feeling patriotic this 4th of July. Putting this playlist together, we are reminded that protest is patriotic. Speaking truth to power is as American as BBQ and apple pie. Happy Independence Day!
You can also listen to these songs on Unsweetened: A Playlist for a Feminist Future on Spotify.
La Santa Cecilia, “Ice El Hielo”
La Santa Cecilia gets political in this song about Latino immigrants living the United States, who are taken by ICE and deported. The video is hard to watch, but it reflects the reality and uncertainty of living and working without documents here.
Snow Tha Product, “Immigrants, We Get the Job Done”
Houston-based rapper Snow Tha Product along with K’naan, Residente, and Riz MC took on this timely track from the Hamilton Mixtape. Here’s to America’s ghostwriters.
Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, “People Got to Be Free”
Check out this remake of The Rascals’ call for freedom and tolerance by the Detroit all-female vocal group.
Mona Haydar, “Barbarian”
Mona Haydar is a voice for Muslim women who want to wear their hijab. She has an important message of love and the right to make personal/political decisions. “This body. Decolonize. This Mind. Decolonize.”
From the North Carolina-born rapper’s latest album, a track about oppression and black power in America.
Penetration, “Don’t Dictate”
Penetration, fronted by Pauline Murray, is a punk rock band from England that formed in 1976. This song gets straight to the point.
Rising Appalachia, “Resilient”
From singer-songwriting sister duo, Rising Appalachia, a song for our times. You can sing along, if you like or “close [your] mouth and learn to listen.”
Dixie Chicks, “Not Ready to Make Nice”
The Dixie Chicks wrote this song as a response to George W. Bush and his supporters who publicly criticized them for speaking up against the Iraq war. With the patronizing talk about civility, this song rings true again.
The Bellas, “Freedom! 90”
This remake of the George Michael hit takes us back to the 90s. “Freedom! / I will not give you up.”
Destiny’s Child, “Independent Women, Part I’
They think they are going to swoop in and take our rights away. But they’ve overlooked one thing — this isn’t the 1880s or the 1950s. We are independent women. Watch out. We will get down like that.
JB the First Lady, “Still Here”
JB the First Lady’s music is positive, personal, and political. JB is reminding the Canadian federal government about the murdered and missing Indigenous women, the staggering number of Indigenous reservations without potable water, and the increased suicide rates in rural communities, but her lyrics could be applied to tribal nations in the U.S. “Still Here.”
LOUDA Y Los Bad Hombres, “This Land Is Your Land”
A lot of musicians cover this Woody Guthrie anthem about the people he encountered on his travels across the United States and his dissatisfaction with the hypocrisy of homelessness in this land of plenty. LOUDA, a poppy hip hop band from Chicago, sing some of the verses in Spanish, highlighting a similar hypocrisy with immigration.
Kino Kimono, “Caste Out”
On being an outcast from a real-life art house supergroup.
Aimee Mann, “4th of July”
In this haunting ballad, Aimee Mann obliterates the pomp and circumstance of it all.
Patti Smith, “Privilege (Set Me Free)”
From Easter, released in 1978, a powerful song about survival from someone who knows how to fucking survive.
The Staple Sisters, “We Shall Overcome”
The Staple Sisters’ freedom songs are the soundtrack to the Civil Rights Movement. “Deep in my heart, you know I, I do believe that we shall overcome some day.”
Rachel Platten, “Fight Song”
Platten wrote this song about her life and career. It’s so catchy that you can probably apply it to yours too. We all need a fight song right now.
BONUS: Ana Tijoux, “Shock” in Arizona
You won’t find this on the playlist, but Ana Tijoux’s “Shock” is a brutal rebuke to Arpaio’s racist, anti-immigrant policies, and it’s a must-listen today.
BONUS: The Muslims, “Muslims at the Mall”
This North Carolina punk band has been blocked and banned for social media, go give the some money for “Independence Day.”