Featuring Kiana Ledé, Mike Epps, Tichina Arnold, Deon Cole, and others
I can always count on music to give me shelter when the world gets tumultuous. Some might describe 2020 as The Official Year of Turmoil, but I’d guess that most Black people view it differently — a year of shock and surprise, to be sure, but also one filled with headlines and breaking news alerts we know all too well.
For many, including myself, music is a refuge in troubled times, and so we at Pandora created Wake Up! — a series of playlists to continue amplifying Black voices through it all. We invite artists and thought leaders to share the songs that not only reflect their day-to-day experiences, but also move them to action.
Songs like “Love Come Down” by Evelyn “Champagne” King. That’s what New York City, USA sounds like to me. When those drums and synths get started and the first verse makes its entrance, the showtime subway dancers favorite tune might as well be another high flying, pole gliding, gravity defying, acrobatic performer. When the song queues up on Pandora’s Black Music Forever Radio, I’m no longer simply walking my dog — I’m now a superhero. There’s no Mariah Carey whisper note I can’t hit. There’s no hips that lie. There’s no Scooby Doo villain I can’t unmask. There’s nothing I can’t do. I’m completely empowered.
It’s fair to assume that everyone in the Black community has their own version of “Love Come Down,” and luckily many of them are sharing their picks in Pandora’s Wake Up! series. The launch features stars like Kiana Ledé, Mike Epps, and Tichina Arnold offering personal tales about songs that inspire them and have shaped pivotal moments in their lives. Check out their playlists, below!
— Sagine Morency, Content Editor at Pandora