Making Music a Part of Self Care

By Andrea Nesby

There’s no denying that American music is rooted in Black culture and history. Black artists, who are often imitated but never duplicated, are truly the architects. So it’s only right to have African American Music Appreciation Month to celebrate their contributions. For me, our rich history in music goes beyond a month, it’s a big part of who I am. Black music artists help keep me grounded because I can relive childhood memories, as well as keep my self-care regime going.

Music always filled my childhood home. I remember digging through my parents’ music crates that had albums from Michael Jackson, Parliament, to Rick James, just to name a few. We also had boxes filled with tapes like Dr. Dre’s “The Chronic” and big towers to hold a collection of CDs. Music from Jodeci, D’Angelo, 2Pac, Sade, Janet Jackson, Lauryn Hill, Prince, or Anita Baker would boom from our Sony stereo, which was a big deal back then. Thank you Circuit City. This, and other memories such as singing Stevie Wonder’s “Superwoman” over and over again in our basement and watching music videos on The Box and Vh1 (I definitely couldn’t get enough of Toni Braxton’s videos), will always live with me. Not only does music from so many of my favorite Black artists take me back in time, but it has helped with healing and self care.

When it comes to healing from heartbreak and disappointment, Mary J. Blige's voice gets me through. The way she shares her vulnerability through her lyrics is unmatched. When I am mourning a loss, I find myself listening to Erykah Badu’s “Telephone” to help with healing. Beyond the healing power, I turn to Black artists for my overall self care. My morning wake-up song is Maze and Franky Beverly’s “Golden Time of the Day.” Something about that song that helps me get my day started on the right foot. When I start getting ready and need a morning pick-me-up, the Melanin Queen playlist comes in handy.

Hearing such uplifting and positive songs from these artists motivates me to take on what’s ahead for the day. And for days when I feel overwhelmed with work, need to concentrate more, or relax, I queue up songs from Jazz artists such as Nina Simone, Ahmad Jamal, and John Coltrane.

Thanks to these artists and more, self care and healing is easier to manage. And this inspired me to create a self-care activity for our Unleash Your Melanin Magic cards that is related to this, Create a Soundtrack to Your Life. How has Black music artists helped you with your healing and self care? Feel free to share in the comments below.

Andrea Nesby is co-owner of Melanin Queen Creative, a company that is committed to uplifting women, especially women of color, through creative products that foster self-awareness, sisterhood, and personal growth.

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