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Music has always been vital in self-soothing and helping to process what’s going on inside. Especially now, in the year that life as we know it changed drastically. These days, I find myself planning my soundtrack more often than my outfits and scheduling jam sessions more than social gatherings.

Massive amounts of Afrobeats to preserve my panAfrican joy. Mornings full of hip-hop discourse from thought leaders. Soulful R&B to remind me that there is always a place for deep Black love. Conscious reggae to remind me of the revolution: the who and what we are fighting for. Gospel to cleanse the soul and fill me with the Holy Spirit. And all the alternative genres that I love that helps me untangle my intuitive and often overwhelming Black emotions.

Playlists have become as vital to me as a daily planner. I’ve been navigating the days, the uprising, the uncertainty and the unknown less and less with to-do lists and more so focusing on what I want to experience, who I am becoming and all that is evolving within and around me. I find myself listening to more and more music that acknowledges me as a spiritual being having a human experience, but more specifically as a strong Black woman still very much in need of tender words and soothing rhythms. Music that makes me feel seen and intricately known.

This led me to wanting to feed myself more songs that addressed my complex emotions as a Black woman during this time. I had the revolutionary playlists, the soundtracks for both love and war, sometimes simultaneously. But what I was missing was a collective of songs to revisit when I just needed a simple love letter. A reminder that I am loved, understood and seen, a kiss from a rose, a four-page letter, a testimony that I am loved because of my Blackness, not just in spite of it and, specifically, as a Black woman.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a playlist is worth a thousand thoughts. Collectively, I present a love letter to Black women (the Black woman) as curated through the voices of the men and women who love and adore them. Enjoy.