For the week leading up to the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump, Billboard asked the hosts of some of cable news’ most-watched shows to put together and share their inauguration playlists: their personal soundtracks for the Jan. 20 ceremony and the next four years. The first playlist comes courtesy of Joy Reid, the host of MSNBC’s AM Joy.
1. “Rise Up” by Andra Day: I predict the next four years will be marked by tremendous (and let’s face it, risky, given who’s headed to the attorney general’s office) activism: by women, people of color, LGBT Americans and people of the Muslim faith — plus those of other religious faiths or no religious faith, who have vowed to defend them against the incoming administration. Andra Day created a masterpiece of an album, Cheers to the Fall, that is full of songs of freedom and fight, with “Rise Up” being the most powerful. It’s a fight song coming from the heart of a woman of color.
2. “Alright” by Kendrick Lamar: I’ve been mainlining To Pimp a Butterfly ever since it came out, and I’ve included the single “Alright” any time I’ve been asked to make a list of the songs for this next generation of civil-rights fighters. The song is hopeful but uncompromising, and those two words describe how those resisting the degradation of our civil and human rights in the coming years are going to have to be.
3. “Redemption Song” by Bob Marley: You can’t go into battle without Robert Nesta Marley, whose anthems on behalf of the struggling people worldwide moved the planet in their heyday, and stand the test of time. Chant down Babylon!
4. “Don’t Hurt Yourself” by Beyonce: Of all the songs on Lemonade, this one packs the most girl power. And its central message, “When you hurt me, you hurt yourself,” is a fitting warning to those looking to rob Americans of healthcare, voting rights, civil rights, marriage rights, or the right to live freely in America without fear. Love God herself.
5. “We Shall Overcome” by any artist: We are going back in time, y’all. And there is one civil rights anthem that stands apart as the uniting theme of those who believe in the fundamental values of freedom and equality. The earliest version was sung by those in bondage, who had no reason to hope; and later versions by those who never lost the will to fight. The lyrics have been sung by Joan Baez, preached by the Rev. Wyatt Tee Walker, chanted by farmworkers in North Carolina, and spoken by President Lyndon Johnson. There’s even a Bruce Springsteen version, and who doesn’t love that? Download your favorite, and get busy fighting back.