With Black lives being under attack, it is crucial to support Black artists. Music has the power to heal, inspire, uplift, and to provide a momentary escape from these troubling times. You can support Black artists by streaming their music, following them on social media, telling your friends about them, buying their merch, and when the pandemic is eventually over, buying tickets to see them perform live.
In the premiere instalment of What’s Going On, I’ve highlighted 5 Black artists that you should be listening to. Keep reading to be introduced to some Black artists that might be new to you. Covering a span of genres, you’ll definitely be adding them to your playlists.
OSHUN – named after the Yoruba goddess of love and beauty, OSHUN is a duo consisting of members Thandiwe and Niambi Sala. The two women who joined forces as students at NYU infuse Afrofuturism into everything they do, from their bouncy tunes to their vibrant visuals. Their 2018 album bittersweet vol. 1 brilliantly showcases their imaginative take on hip-hop and R&B.
Listen to ‘We’re Yung’ from OSHUN’s bittersweet vol. 1.
Twin Shadow – Lovers of 80’s pop & new wave, this one is for you. George Lewis Jr is best known as stylish synthpop star Twin Shadow. Twin Shadow burst onto the scene in 2010 with his critically well-received debut album Forget. His sound has continued to grow and develop with every album while still staying true to his new wave influences. Twin Shadow’s 80s-influenced slick stadium synths will get you up & moving and will be playing on repeat in your head for days.
Listen to ‘To The Top’ from Twin Shadow’s 2015 album Eclipse.
Yves Tumor – To listen to Yves Tumor is to take yourself on an incredible psychedelic trip. Punchy, carnal, soulful and wonderfully weird, Yves Tumor is doing it like no one else, mixing experimental electronic sounds with the bravado of classic rock. A clear descendent of Prince, Sylvester and Ziggy Stardust-era David Bowie, Yves Tumor is the boundary-pushing non-binary pop star of the future. High praise? Big shoes to fill? Yes and yes, but Tumor is proving to be more than capable, continuing to evolve & transform with every release.
Listen to ‘Gospel For A New Century’ from Yves Tumor’s 2020 album Heaven To A Tortured Mind.
Arlo Parks – It’s easy to hear why Arlo Parks was predicted to be a 2020 breakthrough act by the BBC for their Sound of New Music poll. Her delicate vocals float effortlessly over her dreamy bedroom pop. The term bedroom pop is literal for Arlo Parks as her first EP Super Sa Generation was recorded in her home. The British singer is signed to Transgressive Records, the home of Gengahr and Flume. Still just only in her teens (she’ll be 20 this August), the sky really is the limit for the indie songstress & poet.
Listen to ‘Sophie’ from Arlo Parks’ 2020 EP Sophie.
Pleasure Venom – Loud, political & with a lead singer who is unapologetically Black, Pleasure Venom takes no prisoners. Fronted by Audrey Campbell, the Austin, TX band are all about being true to themselves. Named by Afropunk as one of the Top 8 New Punk Bands on the Planet in 2018, Pleasure Venom lives up to the adage of Keep Austin Weird. From tackling white supremacy & social justice issues on tracks like ‘Seize’ and ‘These Days’, Pleasure Venom isn’t afraid to skewer heavy matters which is ultimately very punk.
Listen to ‘Hive’ from their 2018 self-titled EP Pleasure Venom.