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Geeked Up: What Fresh Summer Is This?

African beat science, iron-willed R&B, cutting country torch songs, and feisty gospel declarations

Many of us grow up feeling entitled to summer getaways. It’s part of the godforsaken, blood-soaked, teeth-grindingly unachievable myth of the American Dream: work hard, play hard, earn enough to purchase relief from working so hard. The fact that too many can’t afford to flee the quotidian, or keep the world’s foot off their necks long enough to think about getting the fuck out of town, literally and metaphorically, is the truth into which we grow as adults. Doreen St. Félix wrote resonantly last week about how there is a different summer for black Americans, where the heat is deadly, where being exposed in public or traveling from one place to another makes you especially vulnerable. While some romanticize wanderlusting journeys into the unknown, that is primarily a white reverie.

So when you leave behind the sand-castle fantasy of sunny feels, what’s left for a summer soundtrack? Inspired by the hideous state violence and militarized action against citizen marches, some have compiled protest song playlists (including the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, in collaboration with activist Bridget Todd;