October marks the start of Black History Month in the UK and though at Lickd HQ we might argue that every month should be Black History Month, the event serves as a useful reminder to keep educating yourself (and your subscribers) on black history and its importance in understanding society today. 

If you are making content to celebrate Black History Month, don’t settle for anything less than a legally licensed soundtrack from black artists. The black experience has been and continues to be the driving force behind so many genres and legendary tracks, scroll down to check out our top picks from Lickd in the playlist below. 

influential black people

What is Black History Month? 

Black History Month is a time to learn and understand black history and celebrate the outstanding contributions black people have made to society. 

Why is Black History Month important? 

Throughout history, black people have been systemically oppressed by European and American governments. Because of this, black history has not been taught properly in schools and whole generations are ignorant of the realities of the past. 

Black History Month shines a much needed light on the many positive contributions black people have made to society, correcting the negative portrayal of black communities that has plagued the Western world for decades. 

It’s so important that we understand black history because the repercussions of the actions of Europeans and Americans in Africa and the Caribbean are still heavily evident in our society now. A failure to understand black history is a failure to understand the world today. 

Black music

Most of the genres of music that we know and love today have their roots in black communities. From hip-hop to house, reggae to R&B, soul to rock and roll, people of African and Caribbean descent have contributed a plethora of genres to the music scene.  

In fact, Lickd search data shows that US hip-hop is the most searched for genre on the platform. While there’s some great hip-hop artists in the playlist below, keep checking back for new drops as we’ve got a huge amount of popular hip-hop tracks coming soon…

Lickd’s Black History Month playlist

Mabel

Mabel - Don't Call Me Up

Listen and license: Don’t Call Me Up by Mabel

With over two million single sales in the UK and over half a billion streams. Mabel has emerged as one of the UK’s most positive, candid lyrical voices, with songs that frequently explore everything from identity, the challenges of modern relationships, and working out who you are and what you want.

 

XXXTENTACION

XXXTENTACION

Listen and license: SAD! by XXXTENTACION

With over a billion Spotify streams SAD! is one of XXXTENTACION’s most popular tracks. The Broward County artist bends and breaks genre barriers, stirring together a brew of rap, R&B, punk rock, and metal that snaps without warning from moments of emotional crooning to cathartic screams.

 

Kiddy Smile

kiddy smile

Listen and license: Teardrops In The Box (Mystic Bill Vocal Mix) by Kiddy Smile

Kiddy Smile seeks to spread a retro kind of love in his beats – all of which he produces, sings and sometimes even raps over himself. He’s deeply influenced by the sleazy, lazy feel of 80s and 90s house music and the fabulous legacy of the Ballroom scene.

 

Doc Brown

doc brown

Listen and license: Corruptible by Doc Brown

Legendary London MC ‘Doc Brown’ began his career as an underground rapper. He’s revered for his prowess as a battler, a host of hip-hop events and as a scribe of witty and thought-provoking lyrics.

 

 

Mahalia

mahalia

Listen and license: Hold On by Mahalia

Mahalia is an alt-R&B/soul artist who counts Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill among her biggest influences. The singer and songwriter made her debut in her early teens by which point she had already attracted major-label interest.

 

Omar

omar

Listen and license: Beyond by Omar & EVM128

Designated by many as the father of British neo-soul (though his impact extends to US shores as well), singer/songwriter/producer Omar has moulded soul and urban music to fit his wide variety of influences, including ragga, hip-hop, funk, jazz-pop, rock and Latin/Caribbean dance.

 

Degs

degs

Listen and license: Poveglia by Degs & De:Tune

Degs draws upon a broad set of lyrical forms, fusing fast sprays with harmonious singing inspired by the likes of Fats, Eksman and Dynamite. His debut single Poveglia was an overwhelming success which garnered support in clubs across the globe and became one of the D+B anthems of the summer 2018. With over 500,000 streams on his debut single, he’s moving from strength to strength.

Rae Stewart

rae stewart

Listen and license: Fake Love (Explicit) by Rae Stewart

Mancunian singer-songwriter Rae Stewart’s EP ‘Hear Me’ features artfully mixed soulful vocals with 90s R&B and hip-hop beats. ‘Hear Me’ showcases her unique Destiny’s Child meets Missy Elliot sound. ‘Fake Love’ earned the title of DJ Targets Song of The Week.

 

Siles Hendrix

siles hendrixListen and license: Foot Race by Siles Hendrix 

A freestylist born in Belle Glade Florida, music has always been Siles Hendrix’s passion. Witty, creative punchlines and slick bars pepper his music which he describes as “fire bars and dope concepts.”

 

 

Harry Brown

harry brown

Listen and license: Right There by Harry Brown

British singer/songwriter, Harry Brown, started writing songs aged 12. He’s worked with renowned music producer Rob Cass at the world-famous Abbey Road Studios in London. His latest single reached #9 on Spotify’s viral 50 in Luxembourg.

 

 

Tuu Ra

tuu ra

Listen and license: Walk In Truth by Tuu Ra

Brooklyn native, Tuu Ra found musical inspiration from his Haitian father, a musician, and his Jamaican mother, an educator. He began writing and producing music at fourteen years old. His music spans multiple genres, including hip-hop, rap, reggae, dancehall and afrobeat.

 

 

Joni Haastrup

joni haastrup

Listen and license: Free My People by Joni Haastrup

Growing up in a royal household in Nigeria, Joni Haastrup began his musical journey performing for his brother’s band, Sneakers. He was quickly snapped up as a vocalist for Modern Aces’ ‘Super Afro Soul’ LP, one of Afro-beat’s formative LPs. The success of his collaboration with Ginger Baker led to a string of UK concerts in ’71 before he returned to Nigeria to set up his band, MonoMono.

 

To listen to the whole playlist on Spotify click here.

Black History Month educational resources 

If you want to learn more about black history, here are some great resources to start with: 

  • Black History Month – Official website 
  • Black History Month – Official resource pack 
  • Black History Matters – TED Talk 
  • Akala x Black British History – YouTube video 
  • Why Black History Month Shouldn’t Exist – Lee Adams YouTube video 
  • Black Lives Matter – Netflix Collection
  • ‘Staying Power: The History of Black People in Britain’ by Peter Fryer
  • ‘Black People in the British Empire’ by Peter Fryer 
  • ‘Black and British: A Forgotten History’ by David Olusoga 
  • ‘Biased: The New Science of Race and Inequality’ by Dr Jennifer Eberhardt