Nina Simone

Anti-apocalypse Mixtape

Here’s a quick, 30-song mixtape for the organisers, writers, thinkers, movers and dreamers who are in the constant struggle against the white supremacist, anti-queer, anti-Muslim, ableist, nativist, populist hot mess that we’re in right now — which predated this particular election cycle. If you’re like me and you need music to function, this may be helpful for you. These bad-ass artists, all women of colour, and their songs (originals and covers) don’t shy away from the complex emotional and political range that many of us are experiencing right now.

It’s important to see the recent US presidential election as the latest and perhaps clearest symptom of the deeper structural and systemic problems that plague the US (and Europe — I am writing from London, which is still in Europe for the moment). So this is very much a tool to aid you in your work. Stay woke, stay motivated.

1/ Lauryn Hill — I Find it Hard to Say & Rebel

‘stand up and live’

2/ Laura Mvula — Same Old Mistakes

3/ Black Rage — Lauryn Hill

‘when the dog bites, when the beatings, when I’m feeling sad, I simply remember all these kinds of things, and then I don’t fear so bad.’

4/ Janelle Monae — Cold War

‘this is a cold war, you better know what you’re fighting for’

5/ Nina Simone — Mississippi Goddamn

‘that’s just the trouble — too slow’

6/ Lalah Hathaway — Little Ghetto Boy

Little ghetto boy
You already know how proud life can be
’cause you’ve seen so much pain and misery

7/ Erykah Badu — This Bitter Land

This bitter land
Watered with my soul
The fruit it bears
Leaves me so cold

8/ Krystle Warren — Time has told me

9/ Chaka Khan — Little Wing

10/ Laura Mvula — Overcome

‘when your heart is broken down, and your head don’t reach the sky, take your broken wings and fly’

11/ Rachelle Farrell — I can explain

‘I come to you with a heavy heart, don’t know quite where to start’

12/ Leontyne Price — Summertime

‘one of these mornings, you’re gonna rise up singing, then you’ll spread your wings and take to the sky’

13/ Bells Atlas — Video Star

now you’ve got a place in the line 
 don’t rush 
 everybody loves when you say progress 
 everybody loves when you shout progress

14/ Odetta — Masters of War

You that never done nothin’
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it’s your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly

15/ Cassandra Wilson — Fragile

‘On and on the rain will fall
Like tears from a star
On and on the rain will say
How fragile we are’

16/ Sade — Love is Stronger Than Pride

‘I won’t pretend that I intend to stop living’

17/ Concha Buika — Oro Santo

‘Si tu volvieras, te vestiria de oro mi santo. Que se calle todo para que tu puedas oir mi canto, desesperado’

18/ Amel Larrieux — Get Up / Tell Me

‘I know you’re down, when you gon get up’

19/ Callie Day — Hear My Prayer

20/ Cynthia Erivo — I’m here

‘I’m beautiful, and I’m here’

21/ Sarah Vaughan — Send in the Clowns

‘don’t bother they’re here’

22/ Shirley Bassey — Somewhere Over the Rainbow

23/ Fatoumata Diawara — Bissa

24/ Lizz Wright — Silence & Old Man

Weep not for the day of gray
For the heavens are not weeping
The roses are still red and gay
They are even blooming
And the whole world is singing of
It’s beauty all day long
And even the quiet dark
That silence is a song

25/ Jessica Care Moore — You want poems

‘water remembers, water returns’

26/ Alice Smith — House of the Rising Sun

27/ Valerie June — Workin’ Woman Blues

‘i been workin’ all my life, yeah, all my life, ya’ll.’

28/ Me’shell Ndegeocello — Dead End

‘it’s not the road to nowhere, go’

29/ Andreya Triana feat Fink & Bonobo — The Keeper

‘cause we can’t go on living this way’

30/ Nina Simone — Black is the color of my true love’s hair