Black Girls Only: A Playlist of Our Favorite Black Girl Anthems

Introducing our monthly editorial theme of 'Black Girls Only' with a playlist of all the Black girl anthems you need in your life.

Last year was peak #BlackGirlMagic. In 2016, we saw black women from across the world break records at the Olympics, destroy stereotypes, form their own lanes, and produce mind-blowing art.

During Women’s History Month 2017, we'll put a spotlight on all the black women who are making waves, shattering ceilings, and uplifting their communities in the process, and—since we're talking about black women, here—there's an overabundance to choose from.

For our monthly editorial theme of Black Girls Only, we'll be profiling innovative women across a number of different industries and spaces. This year we honor these women with our curated list of 100 Women on the continent and in the diaspora who are changing the game.

2016 was an especially monumental year for black women in music. From Beyoncé's Lemonade to Yemi Alade's Mama Africa, black women dropped albums that—to quote our girl, Solange—were "for us, by us," and we honestly couldn't get enough.

Below, the ladies from the OkayAfrica staff—and, by the way, we are mostly women—select the songs that represent Black Girls Only. We'll also tell you why.

From quintessential soul tunes to spirited pop anthems, the Black Girls Only playlist will sprinkle #BlackGirlMagic all over your music library. You're welcome.

Get the playlist, and much more, on OkayAfrica's Apple Music channel.

 Georgia Anne Muldrow "Break You Down"

The hook to this song is everything: "Don't let them make you forget who you are / Don't let them break you down." It's pretty much my mantra in song to stay true to myself, to continue to be open to growth and to be the strong black woman that I am. —Antoinette Isama, Associate Editor

Erykah Badu “Cleva”

This is the most honest song in existence as far as I'm concerned. It's a self-love anthem for black women who find beauty in their imperfections but who also know that “beauty” does not determine self-worth. We’re too “cleva” for that. Damola Durosomo, Staff Writer

Solange "Don't Touch My Hair"

This song, and this entire album really, is a black girl anthem. Our hair means so much more to us than people understand—it's our history, our struggle and our beauty. This project is so special because it was made for us and l will be forever grateful to Solange for it. —Oyinkan Olojede, Marketing Associate

ESG "Erase You"

When I first encountered ESG it was in my early years in the NYC, the mid-late 2000s, it was just what I needed! Seeing this all girl (family) band from the Bronx rock out, dominate, and be referenced in so many new deep cuts was the bomb. Seeing them play again a few years back at Bowery Electric was one of the best shows of my life. —Sinat Giwa, Projects and Operations: Okay Space

Janelle Monáe "Dance or Die" ft. Saul Williams

"Dance or Die" to me is one of the ‘wokest’ songs ever. Janelle was basically saying–dance to your own tunes, create your own path and don’t play by society’s rules. I was also drawn to the afrobeat elements. She was totally giving Fela vibes. —Chika OkoliSocial Media Manager

Rihanna "BBHMM"

Let's just say I don't mince my words when it comes to my money, plus, I love Rihanna's unapologetic attitude. —Josephine Opar, Contributing Writer

Queen Latifah “U.N.I.T.Y.”

This song is my anthem for female empowerment because it's important to speak out against the disrespect of women in society. Women all around the world are known for their strength, emotionally and physically, and no strong woman in the 21st century should feel boxed to a degrading category in our society. Now or ever. —Hanan Osman, Executive Assistant to CEO

Stream our 'Black Girls Only' playlist on Apple Music.

Yondo Sister & Soukous Stars "Bazo"

Yondo Sister is the queen of soukous. Repping the Congo, she's been killing the game before most of us were born and she's got moves for days.

I most definitely attribute my love for learning different styles of African dance to her super eclectic music videos I watched growing up (peep them on YouTube!). I'll always admire how she commands the stage with her confidence, as well as her unapologetic attitude and trendsetting style that's essentially made a comeback today. —Antoinette

Charlotte Dada "Don't Let Me Down (Beatles cover,  Ghana 1971)

This song has come back around at different times in my life in through different people that are very dear to me. The percussion is on point to the very end.  —Sinat

Missy Elliott "The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)"

Classic cool girl jam. I listen to this when I’m feeling fly, but also when I’m not—this song just instantly makes me feel dope. Missy Elliott is my hero. —Damola

Missy Elliott "I'm Better"

Yaasss come through Missy! The title really says it all. Missy is an icon. —Oyinkan

Nicki Minaj "Feelin Myself" ft. Beyoncé

Nicki is the ultimate badass. In a space dominated by men, she is unapologetically herself. She knows her worth and commands the respect she deserves. Anything Nicki + Bey always gives me life. —Oyinkan

Ibeyi "River"

After a hard day’s work of dealing with the patriarchy, when you're finally alone in your space, I recommend playing this song and allowing the lyrics wash over you (it’s almost as good as burning sage if you're into that kind of stuff). There's just something therapeutic about listening to a song that's an ode to one of the most loved women (Oshun goddess). —Chika

Fantasia "Free Yourself"

This song is my personal motto and transcends both my personal and professional relationships. —Sinat

Tiwa Savage "Key To The City Remix" ft. Busy Signal

This song will have me cutting conversations short just so I can sing along with Tiwa and Busy Signal. —Josephine

Rihanna "Consideration" ft. SZA

I love how unapologetically moody this song is. Being allowed to have an attitude about the things that bother you, and owning it, is freeing, especially for black women who are told that we have too much of it. That’s what I feel Rih Rih and SZA are doing on this song—owning their shit. Plus, the line "let me cover your shit in glitter I can make it gold,” is my mood for life. —Damola

Tiwa Savage "Kolobi"

I have so much respect Tiwa Savage and her grind. This track from her album, R.E.D, reminds us that as women (and even as people), we need to take more moments to reflect on our blessings and accomplishments, even though it may feel like we're not doing enough. We are indeed more than enough, ladies! — Antoinette

Corinne Bailey Rae "Put Your Records On"

This song is the ultimate ‘carefree black girl’ anthem. Given the monolithic narrative of the black woman, it's refreshing to have a song that revels in the beauty, quirks and joys of being a black woman. —Chika

Beyoncé "Sorry"

This is one of the best break-up songs ever. Period. —Josephine

Beyoncé  “Flawless” ft. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I love the message of this track: to celebrate womanness by refraining from the idea of rising in the morning looking perfect. It's an oxymoron memo because nobody wakes up 'flawless' therefore should not be taken literally but the meaning behind the track says "I woke up feeling good, is what it's about." —Hanan


Yes, Shaquille O'Neal Dropped A Diss Remix of 'Mans Not Hot'

"The real" Shaq responds to British comedian Big Shaq's viral grime hit. The ting goes skrrraaa.

Today, in things you didn't know you would ever hear (or needed to), NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal has dropped a diss remix to British comedian Michael Dapaah aka Big Shaq aka Roadman Shaq aka MC Quakez's "Mans Not Hot."

The track's a response to Big Shaq's ultra viral freestyle on BBC Radio 1's "Fire in the Booth" segment, where the comedian first dropped his now timeless "the ting goes skrrraaa" lines. Since its release back in August, the clip's gone beyond viral—Michael Dapaah aka Big Shaq's even released an official version of the track.

Fast forward to last week, the NBA's Shaq went on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, in which The Roots played "Mans Not Hot" as his walk-on music.

Well, with all the attention on the track, it seems the OG Shaq's taken notice and, in his own tongue-in-cheek way, has fired off some bars at the comedian taking his name.

To make things even more confusing, he's also joined by Toronto rapper ShaqisDope on the comedic diss track.

"There's only one Big Shaq," the NBA star rhymes.

Check out Shaq's diss and the original video below. skrrraaa pap bap bap.

A Nasty Boy Magazine's 'Creative Class of 2018' Highlights 40 African Creatives Who Are Disrupting the Status Quo

For its inaugural list, the trailblazing Nigerian publication highlights 40 creatives who are disrupting the norm through art, photography, writing and more.

With it's emphasis on unapologetically interrupting the status quo and championing all things striking, artistic and unconventional, A Nasty Boy is the rare and severely necessary publication shaking up Nigeria's conservative media landscape.

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Erykah Badu Curated A New Fela Kuti Box Set

Badu: "Fela Kuti is a Fucking Genius. Please listen to these tracks, preferably with a nice blunt.. with a nice slow burn."

To celebrate Fela Kuti's birthday and the many Felabrations going down across the globe, Knitting Factory Records has announced the upcoming arrival of their new Fela Kuti box set.

The new box set, which will be the fourth installment the label has released from the king of Afrobeat, will be curated by none-other-than Erykah Badu.

"Fela Kuti is a Fucking Genius," Badu writes in a press statement. "Please listen to these tracks, preferably with a nice blunt.. with a nice slow burn."

Erykah Badu's selections include her "favorite Fela Piece of all times," 1980's Coffin For Head of State, alongside Yellow Fever (1976), No Agreement (1977), J.J.D. (Johnny Just Drop) (1977), V.I.P. (1979), Army Arrangement (1984), and Underground System (1992).

The box set will be limited to only 3,000 copies, which come with a 16" x 24" poster designed by Nigerian artist Lemi Ghariokwu, the creative force behind 26 of Fela Kuti's iconic album covers, and a 20-page full-color booklet. The booklet features seven personal essays written by Erykah Badu.

Previous Fela Kuti box sets have been curated by Questlove, Ginger Baker, and Brian Eno for Knitting Factory Records.

Pre-order Erykah Badu's Fela Kuti box set now.

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