Apple Music has assembled a multi-genre musical team to celebrate Black pride and artistry ahead of Juneteenth (June 19). The outcome was Juneteenth 2022: Freedom Songs, a playlist consisting of 16 original songs and covers designed to edify and uplift the spirit of its listeners in extraordinary ways.
Under the dugout for R&B and soul is Alex Isley, 6LACK, Cautious Clay, and Koryn Hawthorne. They each offer something thoughtful and emotionally engaging from their voice and perspective.
Isley, who released her Marigold album in March, remade Maze and Frankie Beverly’s 1983 tune “We Are One.”
“I am a daughter, I’m a mother, I’m a friend. So, just practicing gratitude, I think that’s a big part of Juneteenth: the gratitude and celebration of who we are and the pride of that and the beauty and the richness of our culture and our power,” Isley said of her song selection.
6LACK made impactful usage of “UMI Says” by Mos Def. Meanwhile, Koryn Hawthorne nailed her rendition of Smokie Norful’s gospel classic “I Need You Now.”
Of the bunch, Clay is the only act to share an original song. It’s titled “Been in the Way” and according to Clay, it’s inspired by religion, wealth and beauty. “I was really trying to capture the many things that can be in the way of allowing us to relate to each other and the people that we care about,” Clay shared.
In addition to the artists mentioned above, Lupe Fiasco, Brittney Spencer, Bun B, Damien Sneed, Kranium, and more participate in the Juneteenth 2022: Freedom Songs playlist.
Ebro Darden, Apple Music’s global editorial head of hip-hop and R&B, said “As the awareness and mainstreaming of Juneteenth continues to rise, our team at Apple Music is committed to commemorating the holiday while ensuring that its historical significance is not lost.
We continue our annual efforts with a new collection of Black Music and stories from artists across an array of genres aimed to amplify the conversation, inspire reflection, and celebrate freedom.”
Listen to Apple Music’s Juneteenth 2022: Freedom Songs below.