DiMA Music Playlists - Black History Month 2022

Connecting you with the artists and music shaping the industry.

Black History Month only spans the month of February, but history is made 365 days a year. To honor the many achievements and contributions to music and culture that Black artists have made, we created DiMA curated playlists on each of our member streaming services. While you are listening, read through some of the notable moments that inspired these songs:

  1. Ethel Waters’ – “Down Home Blues”
    • In 1921, Ethel Waters recorded “Down Home Blues” for the first major Black-owned record label, Harry Pace’s Black Swan Records. The recording sold more than 100,000 copies in the first six months—a feat during a time when very few Black musicians were recorded at all.
  2. Billie Holiday – “Strange Fruit” (recorded in 1939)
    • Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit,” a song condemning racism while detailing the horrors of lynching is widely regarded as one of Black Americans most well-known protest anthems. The tune was named song of the century by TIME magazine in 1999.
  3. Marianne Anderson – “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen”
  4. Etta James – “At Last” (recorded in 1960)
    • On January 20, 2009, Barack and Michelle Obama shared their first dance as the 44th POTUS and FLOTUS as Beyonce serenaded the history-making couple with a cover of Etta James’“At Last” during the inaugural ball.
  5. Nina Simone – “Mississippi Goddam”
    • “Mississippi Goddam,” the iconic protest song, encapsulates the profound turmoil of 1963: the murder of Medgar Evers in Mississippi, the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Alabama, and the attacks by vicious dogs against the non-violent freedom fighters—throughout the South. Nina Simone paints a stark picture of the price paid by many innocent victims as well as courageous fighters on the frontline of the struggle for Civil Rights.”
    • Source: New York Public Library
  6. Mahalia Jackson – “How I Got Over” 
  7. Mary Wells’ “My Guy”
    • On May 16, 1964, Berry Gordy’s Motown Records label celebrated its first No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with Mary Wells’ “My Guy,” a song written and produced by Smokey Robinson.
  8. Leontyne Price – “O patria mia”
    • In January 1961, Leontyne Price debuted as the first African-American to be a leading prima donna at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. She went on to sing more than 200 performances in sixteen different roles with the Met—including the title roles in Aida and Madama Butterfly.
    • Source: MetOpera.org: Leontyne Price: A Legendary Met Career
  9. Jimi Hendrix – “Hey Joe”
  10. Ella Fitzgerald “Mack the Knife”
    • In 1972, “The First Lady of Song,” Ella Fitzgerald’s, performance of “Mack the Knife,” inked her place in history as the first “celebrity” singer – and first African-American – to perform at a Super Bowl halftime show. (Super Bowl VI).
    • Source: WNYC: The Real Highlight of Super Bowl History
  11. Michael Jackson “Thriller”
  12. DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince for “Parents Just Don’t Understand”
  13. Whitney Houston – “I Will Always Love You”
  14. John Legend and The Roots – “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free”
    • In 2010, John Legend and The Roots recorded the Billy Taylor-penned, “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free” on their 2008 U.S. presidential election-inspired album, Wake Up! Musing on the Black American experience, the song served as an anthem for the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and has been recorded by several artists since its original recording in 1963.
  15. Kendrick Lamar – “Humble”
    • “Humble” was the lead single off Kendrick Lamar’s fourth studio album, DAMN.— the first non-jazz or classical work to earn a Pulitzer Prize for Music. The definitive work also won the 2018 GRAMMY Award for Best Rap Album and has been certified 3x platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.
  16. Beyonce – “BLACK PARADE”