We Looked at Kamala Harris’ Black Music Month Playlist and Here’s What We Found

Zach Gibson/Getty Images
Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Kamala Harris, the junior Democratic U.S. senator from California, released a Spotify playlist in honor of Black Music Month on Tuesday, featuring 50 of her favorite tracks from black artists in the genres of rhythm and blues, jazz, gospel, hip-hop, rap, soul, pop, reggae and funk, allowing us a peek into her personality and what gets her moving.


“Our nation has an indelible soundtrack, songs that have become anthems recognized across the world. Much of that soundtrack is inspired and informed by the vast contributions of African-American artists in jazz, R&B, rap, hip-hop and beyond,” Harris said. “No matter where you are from or what you look like, music is a bond that can bring us all together. To celebrate African-American music is to dance, sing and even march to the rhythms that have long served as vehicles for honesty, inspiration, struggle, success and joy.”

Looking at this playlist lets me know one thing: Harris never experienced the struggle of having her mama wake her up on a Saturday morning with old-school music playing in preparation for a day of scrubbing walls and mopping floors. She is, however, a Tribe lover and someone who has a favorite song for every mood. I want to know her.

Overall, the list is pretty solid, and I’m here for it:

“Check the Rhime,” by A Tribe Called Quest

Things get off to a good start with Tribe. I can see Kamala rocking to this with her bamboo earrings and her overalls with the airbrushed picture of herself on the front.

“Juicy,” by the Notorious B.I.G.

I imagine Kamala changes the lyrics of this to talk about her rise in American government.


“Everything Is Everything,” by Lauryn Hill

Hmm. Is Kamala into tardiness and not showing up to events? Just kidding. I actually like this song by Lauryn, so I’ll let it slide.


“Redbone,” by Childish Gambino

People give Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino, a hard time, but he’s actually pretty solid, and this song is for the redbones, of whom Kamala is one.


“Rise Up,” by Andra Day


“Groove Me,” by King Floyd

This is super old-school, and not a common pick on anyone’s list, so I’ll give her points for this one.


“Happy,” by Pharrell

I got tired of this song the same year it was out because they played it so. damn. much. I don’t see how anyone else didn’t get tired of it, too, but Kamala has to play this in preparation for going to meet with anyone from the GOP. It keeps her from snapping.


“California Love,” by 2Pac, featuring Dr. Dre

Now we’re getting somewhere. This is a California rap classic. Every person from California should have this song on her or his playlist.


“Dirt Off Your Shoulder,” by Jay Z

This tells us that Kamala is not here for your bullshit, and even if she has to tolerate it, she’s going to flick you off like so much dirt off her shoulder when she’s done.


“Super Bass,” by Nicki Minaj

Clearly, Kamala twerks in her mirror when no one is looking.

“What’s Going On?” by Marvin Gaye

I’ll bet Kamala has this song on repeat in her car. With everything that’s happening in our country right now, this song sums up pretty much every black person’s feelings.


“Love on Top,” by Beyoncé

Queen. I see you.

“ABC,” by the Jackson 5

This is what Kamala plays to get her happy on. Maybe while she’s sweeping the bathroom.


“My Shot (the Hamilton Mixtape),” by the Roots, Busta Rhymes and Joel Ortiz

Hamilton is everything. Has Kamala seen it? She probably has. Lucky heffa.

“Have a Talk With God,” by Stevie Wonder

I’m over Stevie and his Black Lives Matter comments, so nawl.

“Sinnerman,” by Nina Simone

This is how you know Kamala is a little militant on the inside. Nina Simone is everything.


“Kiss,” by Prince

Remember that scene in Pretty Woman when Julia Roberts was singing this in the bathtub? I imagine Kamala singing this just as off-key while working on the elliptical, not caring that everyone in the gym is staring at her like she’s crazy.


“Everybody Loves the Sunshine,” by Roy Ayers

Yessssssssssssss. “My life. My Life. MY LIFE.” Kamala sings this while she is on her way to Senate meetings. It’s her sphere of protection against the bullshit.


“All We Got,” by Chance the Rapper, featuring Kanye West and the Chicago Children’s Choir

Clearly, Kamala for president and Chance for VP in 2020.

“I’ll Take You There,” by the Staple Singers

This is Kamala’s theme music as she walks through the halls of the Capitol.

“Bam Bam,” by Sister Nancy

This is a reggae classic. I bet Kamala knows all the words, too. She probably puts on her head wrap and sings it into her hairbrush microphone like we all do. Oh, we don’t all do that?


“Tightrope,” by Janelle Monáe

It’s Janelle, and that’s all that needs to be said. We see you, Kamala.

“Humble,” by Kendrick Lamar

Kamala wants you all to humble yourselves. That much is clear.

“Tambourine,” by Eve

This, too, is a twerk anthem. Even more so than the Nicki one from earlier. In fact, the first spoken line in this song is “You gotta shake yo’ ass.” We see you, Kamala. We see you.


“T-Shirt,” by Migos

I don’t know them and Kamala does, so obviously, I need to get my life together.


“Choices,” by E-40

Yay, Area! Kamala is letting us know she represents the Bay in every way. Why else would she pick the God Earl Stevens out of all the available Bay Area rappers? Now we just need to see her get hyphy.


“Word Up,” by Cameo

This is classic Cameo. Everyone should have this on their playlist. Kamala knows.


“Try Again,” by Aaliyah

Not the best Aaliyah song, but still a classic.

“On & On,” by Erykah Badu

Classic Badu from the first album.

“Pretty Little Birds,” by SZA

I don’t know her.

“If I Ever Fall in Love,” by Shai

In which Kamala reminds us that she went to Howard University. Get into it.

“End of the Road,” by Boyz II Men


“Think,” by Aretha Franklin

This is a message to the old white men in Congress.

“Video,” by India.Arie

This is Kamala letting us know that she is just a regular degular girl doing big things in the Senate.


“In Common,” by Alicia Keys

I’ve got nothing.

“Smooth Sailin’,” by Leon Bridges

Still got nothing.

“Cold Sweat,” by James Brown

Kamala dances to this in her socks so she can slide across the floor.

“Body and Soul,” by Billie Holiday

Lady Day. This is classic. Kamala gets the blues, but she sings her way out of it.


“Let’s Stay Together,” by Al Green

Kamala hits the high notes when she sings this; you just know it.

“Waterfalls,” by TLC

Because clearly Kamala does that shoulder dance when it gets to that part.

“Be Without You,” by Mary J. Blige

Kamala sings this when she’s wrapped up in her feelings.

“What’s Love Got to Do With It,” by Tina Turner

This is what Kamala sings when her hair is all wild before she combs it smoothly into place.


“Bambi,” by Jidenna

Jidenna is sexy and should be on all our playlists. Kamala knows this.

“Dis Generation,” by A Tribe Called Quest

Clearly Kamala is a Tribe fan. Ayyyyyyyyyyy.

“Hit the Road Jack,” by Ray Charles

Kamala is choreographing a routine to this so she can sing it to Donald Trump when we finally get him the fuck up out of here.


“Marching Into the Dark,” by John Legend

John Legend to round it out. Because of course.

News Editor for The Root. I said what I said. Period.


Damn this is a good list but I raise my eyebrow at Super Bass. Thats not a bad Nicki song but its not a good one either. And I am surprised at her inclusion of Tamborine because I love that song and I miss Eve.