From the writings of Audre Lorde and bell hooks to the musical talents of Beyoncé Knowles and Nina Simone, the world of MusiQology has been enriched by the contributions of women of color in their activisms and their everydays. In recognition of International Women’s Day, we at MusiQology want to thank the powerful women in our lives—professors, producers, managers, musicians, teachers, sisters, singers, mentors, mothers—responsible for working toward a more equal and equitable world for women and girls around the world.
Long before hooks rightly asked, “Ain’t I A Woman?” in 1981, black women had been advocating for a more just world that acknowledged the particular intersections of identity that made them multiply vulnerable to inequity. “The most general statement of our politics at the present time would be that we are actively committed to struggling against racial, sexual, heterosexual, and class oppression, and see as our particular task the development of integrated analysis and practice based upon the fact that the major systems of oppression are interlocking,” the Combahee River Collective, which took its name from a Harriet Tubman-led raid in 1863 that freed more than 750 slaves, wrote in 1977, referencing the historical resonance of race, class, gender, and sexuality in concert. “The synthesis of these oppressions creates the conditions of our lives.”
As many women around the world who are able step away from their desks, lecterns, and places of employment this week as part of #ADayWithoutAWoman, we’ve put together a playlist tribute featuring many songs from many black women that are influential in protest or in positivity. Let it soundtrack your International Women’s Day—and every day.