Redefining the Black and Brown Woman: Tunes to Chill Out to Ahead of Election Day


Tori B. Powell

I think it’s safe to say that the United States as a whole feels as though it’s on fire. I write this from California, which was largely literally on fire for a good portion of the summer. So, what I mean by this comparison is that the news cycle these days has felt unpredictable in the worst of ways. I’m constantly on edge, paranoid about the future, and nervous about how my loved ones and I will be impacted by new developments, similarly to how I felt when the real wildfires ravaged the West Coast. Shocking news seems to break every second, and with a presidential election like no other just hours away that’ll address heightened life or death issues like the Coronavirus, white supremacy, climate change, abortion, our recessed economy, and more, it’s safe to say that I feel as though the country is burning down.

So, the suffocating tension in this political climate has led me to listen to more music than ever in my desperate attempt to alleviate its pressure. I’ve filled these last days until the election with tunes to soothe my fast-paced concerns and to boil them down into manageable thoughts. Silence now tends to be deafening and distracting for me, and so even when I’m doing work, I fill the time with quiet chill-hop instrumentals, my showers with ballads to sing to on my speaker, and my meditations with rhythmic nature sounds.

I’m grateful for this coping mechanism of mine, too. With such a different type of election that has so much on the line, experts have actually advised preparing a mental health strategy that works for you in order to save yourself from the dangerous hole that our thoughts can take us down on Election Day. It’s not too late either! You still have time to gear up for what will be a pretty monumental day for the country.

While my anxiety-reducing tactics might be music, bubble baths, and a nice age-appropriate drink, others have different ways to cope. (A great resource to start was just published by Self Magazine and is certainly worth the read.)

But for me, as I mentioned, music has been so helpful for alleviating some of my pre-Election Day jitters. So, for this week’s edition, I’ve curated 15 ethereal-sounding songs from Black and Brown women that’ve been able to make me feel as cool as a cucumber while the world is metaphorically on fire. Give them a listen and let me know what you think!

  1. “Might Be Eternity” – Nia Andrews
  1. “Birds Gave Up” – Orion Sun
  1. “I Miss You So, But I’m Heading Home” – Sakidasumi
  1. “On an Island” – Ditty
  1. “Good Sign” – Charlotte Dos Santos
  1. “Side Effects” – Cehryl
  1. “Ruins” – The Tontons
  1. “Sweet” – KEYAH/BLU
  1. “Candy” – Ambar Lucid
  1. “A Kiss Goodbye” – Tei Shi
  1. “Like A Bird” – WILLOW
  1. “Everything” – Denyah
  1. “Strange Land” (Acoustic Version) – NIKI
  1. “Bittersweet” – Lianne La Havas
  1. “Ignited” – Mumbi Kasumba