issue 5: feb 2016, Moving, Multi-media, Music
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Rise & Remind: A Step-by-Step Playlist for Morning Woes by Nicole Shanté White

I have a complicated relationship with mornings. I appreciate the sense of renewal it brings and I’ve been known to whip up a sexy stack of pancakes. However, my depression consistently makes rising more than a physical task. Thoughts of inadequacy and uselessness tend to leave little room for optimism about the day ahead. In an attempt to accommodate my mental health needs I’ve experimented with creating an inspiring morning playlist and this particular progression of sounds and lyrics has proved to be the most helpful. I hope ya’ll enjoy or at least feel moved to create your own!

1. QueenS by THEESatisfaction

The abrupt intro resembles a metronomic alarm, but the subsequent directions are spoken in such a way that sways over the beat and welcomes a subtle shoulder nod or thigh tap – both of which can be done with your eyes still closed and toes still anchored by a blanket.

Favorite line: “let the musicians…be your physicians”

2. ALIVE! by Queen GodIS

This poet/MC/vocalist serves up enough brilliance for you to soak in. So yes, lie there and let Queen’s bars about interconnectivity settle inside your limbs. Your body will act as a reference point of understanding, thus if somebody needs to catch dem hands later today it will obviously be an act of love.

Favorite line: “I am everlasting…regardless, in spite, and because of”

3. Instincts by VV Brown

Aight, at this point you’ve had about eight minutes to shuffle in the sheets. Now it’s time to start inching your way towards the edge of the bed with every pounding of the rebellious baseline. The meat of this track consists of feisty, unapologetic self- affirmations that arrive just as you reach the mirror to wipe the crust out of your eyes.
Favorite line: “they said I would fail, they said I would crash, they said I wouldn’t last…but I’m still here”

4. That’s Alright by Laura Mvula

I know, I know…Beyonce’s mantra “I woke up like dis” doesn’t feel so empowering once you’ve actually gotten up to see the dried drool and facial imprints. Laura provides the perfect clapback for your hypercritical reflection. Go ahead and hum along to the closing instrumental because I’m sure your morning breath is on 12.

Favorite line: “I will never be want and that’s alright, cuz my skin ain’t light and my body ain’t tight.”

5. Let It Go by Chonique Sneed

As soon as this beat drops you need to head to your closet. On the off chance that you chose today’s outfit last night we both know that decision is about to be modified and this track’s buoyant melody is the perfect assistant. Chonique demands the release of self-doubt and negativity with catchy onomatopoeias and a chorus that slaps. Let them hips ride out; ain’t nothing more revolutionary than a morning twerk.

Favorite line: “I got good energy in all of my chakras”

6. Dust by Ladi6

I actually need you to turn down like 6 notches so you don’t buss your ass in the shower. Grab your washcloth and imagine Ladi6 is speaking from the perspective of the showerhead. You’re welcome.

Favorite line: “evolve into yourself, now let’s go”

7. Creator by Santigold

Whether you air dry or let your towel cop all the feels, the first nineteen seconds of this song will make either option mad cinematic. Take your time slipping into your thoughtful ensemble. Milk that congratulatory chorus, you. did. that! Yes, you ARE a creator. Who else can make leggings so versatile?

Favorite line: “thrill is to make it up”

8. I’ll Call You Back by Erykah Badu

I’m definitely not gonna let you walk out into the world with an empty stomach. I’m not one of ya lil fake friends that always call asking for energy, even before office hours. While you’re cheffing up breakfast in the kitchen, play this tune and practice being present. Put ya phone down and give that omelet a real chance at life.

Favorite line: “flipping the switches and bitches come witness that you’re in your feelings and i’ll call you back”

9. Bitch Switch by Leikeli47

Let’s be real, there have been mornings that have started off perfectly only to be dismantled by some transportation fuckery, relationship shenanigans, and/or white nonsense. Consider this song proactive self-care. Spit the chant that strings the verses together loud enough so that even in the people in the back who will try you today can hear the warning.

Favorite line: “look ma, no hands, broke my foot off in they ass cuz they kept playin”

10. Wonder Woman by Lion Babe

By now your belongings should be gathered for your valiant departure. Look at you! Your mind, body, and soul centered and all kinds of worthy. I applaud your bravery and perseverance. You made a deliberate decision to get out of bed and live today. This is why Lion Babe’s Wonder Woman must accompany your fierce strut. Slay honey. Read this world for blood.

Favorite line: “I ain’t gonna break for that”


Nicole hates wearing shoes, loves pancakes with crispy edges, and is still trying to figure out when a handshake is more appropriate than a hug. Instead of fulfilling her kindergarten dream of being the voice-over for read-a-long cassette tapes, she is using her BA in Poetry to excel as a full-time poet & teaching artist. Nicole currently resides on the east coast, where she enjoys eating dollar pizza and watching people fall asleep on the subway. She is a staff writer for Sula Collective. You can learn more about her on her website.

Photo by Sophia, you can find her on instagram.

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