In honor of Mother’s Day, we’re sharing some of our favorite tributes to mothers around the world from some of our favorite musical acts.
When thinking of this list, a mother figure that immediately came to mind for her sad passing almost exactly a year ago is Afeni Shakur, the lifelong political activist, Black Panther and mother to Tupac.
The bittersweet “Dear Mama” is probably hip-hop’s most popular ode to a mother and has served as a template for songs about mothers on and off the continent.
With that in mind, we asked the office to select some of the sweeter songs for moms that they’d come across. Scroll through our Mother’s Day playlist below.
Miriam Makeba “Khawuleza”
Who better than Mama Africa herself to kick off this list. In the video above, the legendary singer explains that “Khawuleza” is a “South African song, it comes from the townships… where all the black South Africans live. The children shout from the streets as they see police cars coming to raid their homes for one thing of another. They shout ‘Khawuleza, mama!’ which simply means ‘Hurry, mama, please don’t let them catch you!’”
Prince Nico Mbarga “Sweet Mother”
Highlife musician Prince Nico Mbarga’s “Sweet Mother” was his only hit, but what a hit it was. Recorded alongside his band Rocafil Jazz, Mbarga’s fusion of Igbo & Congolese guitar lines and English pidgin vocals went on to sell over 13 million copies after its 1976 release and has become a staple of the era worldwide.
Wizkid Performs “Love My Baby” For His Mom
We don’t need to tell you that Wizzy’s blowing up right now. But before the Drake co-signs and global chart topping, remember when Wizkid called his mother on stage and serenaded her with “Love My Baby”? “I’m gonna bring out my baby, the love of my love, the only woman I love so much, my mama,” he lets the audience know.
Here’s a mother’s ode that could also play on the dance floor from the impressive Nigerian roster of Yemi Alade, Olamide, Iyanya, Tekno and Selebobo. The song’s accompanying music video is as sweet as the track.
Afrikan Boy “Dear Mama”
Afrikan Boy enlists UK-Nigerian Seye and production from Johan Hugo (The Very Best) for “Dear Mama.” “I saw the struggles my mum went through to feed us and ensure our happiness. This song is an acknowledgement to her hustle and my promise to be successful to honour her efforts,” he previously told Okayafrica.
Asa “So Beautiful”
Last but not least, Asa delivers a tender acoustic tribute to her mother in “So Beautiful.”