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A collection about the sounds of Black Love 
By The Renegade Editorial Team

On this day of love, the Editorial Team takes a moment to talk about their favorite Black love songs. From Stevie Wonder to Kendrick Lamar, from romance to self-love,  we have a special spot for songs about the most wonderful feeling in the world. 
Listen to the playlist here!

“Free Yourself” - Fantasia
By Janese Fayson

“If you don’t want me then don't talk to me!” No, Fantasia wasn’t the first woman to coin this phrase or even the first to feel this type of scorn, but she’s definitely the one who made it into a bop! 90s R&B has captivated millions, as it has sunken its neo-soul nails into anyone who gives it a listen.  Lyrics about “scrubs” or “brown sugar” have kept R&B alive to this day. Fast forward to 2023 and R&B has taken an almost completely separate style and flow. Although inspiration can be found in many of the new works put out by Sza, Summer, Brent, you name it; we have definitely seen a shift. This is not to say that one version of this music is better than the other, just that one thrives on being the optime of classics, while the other is still being constructed for this new day and age. With Valentine's day approaching, it’s safe to assume not everyone has a boo-thang to hit the town with, or alternately hit the bed with… and that’s OK! In essence, this is why the song is so important. Self-love baby, it’s the greatest. The purest form of love. No need to put up with mixed signals and minimal effort, especially not on the day designated to love. So, come Valentine's day if your situationship still hasn’t hit your line or made plans, go ahead and put on some soul full R&B and bring this love-filled holiday in with yourself, or your girls; and alas, remember what Fantasia said. 



Can You Stand the Rain - New Edition

By Jacquelyn Trotman


When I think of Black love, I immediately think of “Can You Stand the Rain”. My sister and I grew up listening to old-school R&B, and with New Edition being one of my parents’ favorite groups, this song was on at home all the time. The powerful vocals of each member blend together for a beautiful, unmatched harmony. However, it’s the message behind those vocals that make the song so iconic, and a perfect depiction of Black love. “Can you stand the rain?” is a question of whether or not another person’s love comes with conditions. Sticking around during the good times is easy—anyone can do that. It’s those tough moments of adversity, vulnerability, and self-questioning when we really need someone by our side. Black love means weathering the storm. It means loving wholeheartedly and without conditions. Over the years, this song has given me a standard by which I can evaluate the relationships in my life, whether they be romantic, platonic, or familial. While it’s great to be with someone when everything’s going well, at the end of the day, I want someone who can stand by me in the rain. Beyond giving me a sense of nostalgia for a time I never lived in, “Can You Stand the Rain” is a reminder of the unconditional love that I deserve and have to give. 



Purple Hearts – Kendrick Lamar
By Vanessa Walker

Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers at large feels like listening in on a therapy session, tackling healing on a cultural and deeply personal level. What I admire about Purple Hearts in particular is the way it closes the first half of the album with a hopeful outlook on self-growth and love. The song carries a balanced vibe with chill, yet uplifting instrumentals that help us slow down and allow these piercingly meditative lyrics to sink in. It comes in loaded with spiritual acknowledgments, crediting God as the source of love and us as distributors of this divine gift. 
It builds verse by verse, from Kendrick stepping up to be a better partner despite the toxic culture around him, to Summer Walker acknowledging her worth and the need for a quality of love that matches that, then closing with Ghostface Killah’s prophetic words on love’s divine power. The end of Kendrick’s verse speaks to me most profoundly (I bless one day that you attract somebody with your mind exact / a patient life, flaws, bless ‘em twice, and they’ll bless you back). It registers as something of an affirmation, that someone worthy will come, who shows me deeply honest love even as we’re both working to be who the other deserves. It’s work that comes with great responsibility, but when we love each other the right way we can set healing in motion and reach heavenly levels of connection we never thought possible. 



“Overjoyed” - Stevie Wonder
By Jordyn Alisa Williams

Stevie Wonder’s Overjoyed reinforces that the beauty of love is in its horror. Love requires taking a risk, making that first move, and being open to rejection, all of which are intimidating, to say the least. These feelings of uncertainty are tests for how far we will go to demonstrate our admiration for our loved ones. In Overjoyed, Stevie fantasizes about a charmed life spent with his lover. This fantasy, however, will forever live in his dreams as his love interest is not willing to take a chance on him. As lovers, we yearn for shared intimacy with that special someone, so what do we do when we can’t have them? I guess the only answer is to move on. But Stevie Wonder still begs the question, what could have been? 
You too might be/ Overjoyed, over loved, over me.



“Torn” - LeToya
By Geraldo Reid

The essence of romantic relationships exists as a means of having an important person in one’s life to which they can confide. It often begins as what is commonly known as the ‘honeymoon period’ which quickly dissipates into a form of easement, which is unacceptable for some. This creates issues and complications that neither party consciously foresaw. This period can be described as a pivotal stage of a relationship, as it could prove superficial or fatal. However, it could organize the future, creating a better understanding of what to do when a problem arises. Alluding to the former, this song by LeToya Luckett describes a relationship experience by one party that is confusing. “Torn between the two” is the story of her frame of mind. She is in a paradox of staying in the relationship but also wanting to leave. The idea of being in a relationship is to create long term memories. This comes with projecting positive thoughts, that don’t leave room for negative ideas to creep in. With negative thinking, by fixating on whatever it is, it gets worse, leading to inevitable heartbreak. The theme of Valentine’s Day is a reminder to make their life, and in turn your life, special. Ultimately, always attempt to make each other happy.



“All I Do” - Stevie Wonder
By Anwuli Adeola Onwaeze

“You made my soul a burning fire/ You’re getting to be my one desire/ You’re getting to be all that matters to me” Have you ever been so consumed with the feeling of love that you could only think of one person, not knowing if they feel the same way? This Stevie Wonder classic perfectly wraps that feeling in a 5-minute musical gift. Wonder easily has one of the best love song discographies ever, but this song magnifies every little thing that makes all of his other ballads special. Despite its release in 1980, the unfiltered passion is penned by a 16-year-old Stevie but recorded for his 1980 album Hotter Than July. The song is bursting at the seams with that adolescent excitement that comes out when you fall in love. This Valentine’s Day you may be basking in this feeling Wonder speaks of, or still waiting on someone who will experience that with you. Whatever it is, give this tune a listen and your spirit will definitely be uplifted. 


The E-board's Honorable Mentions

Worth My While - Bootsy Collins 
Cater 2 You - Beyoncé
Charlene - Anthony Hamilton 
Do 4 Love - Snoh Alegra
Superpower - Beyoncé
Happy - Ashanti 



Renegade's Valentine's Day Song Picks

Doing What For The Gram?

By: Kamey Gomez

As people, we can often gauge when something or someone is real or fake, but social media has changed the game to when it comes to our perception of ourselves, others, and what life is truly supposed to be like. Whether we do it consciously or subconsciously, the content we intake from social media can positively or negatively influence the way we live our lives, develop relationships and see the world. It's fair to say that toxicity is at our fingertips. However, it is only through strengthening the relationship with yourself and others that we are able to healthily interact with social media and stay free of toxicity in 2019 and beyond. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Luiz helps with this all. Let's start!


These days, 90% of Instagram stories are quotes ranging from topics about matching energy to working rally hard. It’s fair to say that we live in a quota/mantra dominated society. Sometimes we forget that some of the quotes and sayings that we see and agree with in the moment, may actually not be healthy for the way we behave and interact with others. These mantras both consciously and subconsciously implants ideas into our thought processes while we're navigating situations. Unfiltered, this creates toxicity.

If we continue to "match" everyone’s energy, when will we have the time to identify, protect and preserve our own energy that is authentic to who we truly are?

There is a difference between allowing people to treat you however they desire and a difference between behaving in ways that are in alignment with your core values. Doing so will allow you to be responsive rather than reactive. It will also strengthen your decision making because you will then be acting from a source of truth and integrity, which is what being impeccable with your word is all about. This all starts with reflection.

Take a look at the tips below to get your life:

1. Identify 5 of your core values in life: loyalty, authenticity, honesty, playfulness, creativity, hard work, etc.

2. Watch a video on YouTube that you've never seen before. Without reading the comments, gather your thoughts on what you think of that video. Did you like the video? Why or why not? If you enjoyed the video, does it reflect any of your core values? Try to get into the habit of having concrete reasons as to why you may like or dislike something. This should be completely unfettered by any external opinions.

3. Don Miguel Ruiz, author of "The Four Agreements" says that being impeccable with your word means to say only what you mean. This sounds basic, but it's true. Ask yourself if you are really meaning what you’re saying when discussing your opinions.

4. The next time you see a quote or saying on your Instagram feed or Twitter account, ask yourself if that post is negative or positive? Is it talking about a pat peeve that reminds you of what you dislike in people, or is it an encouraging/uplifting message that makes you feel good?

5. Un-follow accounts that do no post content that align with what your core values are.

It's 2019, don't feel bad for doing what is best for you and don't gat offended if you 're the person who gets un-followed. The Four Agreements says that not taking things personally means that nothing others do is because of you, rather it is a projection of their own reality.


You have to understand that everyone is living a reality that is much different from your own. Everyone’s problems, flaws, and strengths are different, and that information isn’t always showcase on social media. These apps allow us to create a perception of what our reality is, or what we want our reality to be. Whether that is having an account that has a lot of traveling photos or

accomplishments or nice outfits, as social media consumers we may never know what it took to create that alternative reality.

Because we don't know this information, we tend to make assumptions and take on the burden of judging or comparing ourselves, thus, lowering our own self-esteem which isn't fair to us and creates toxicity in our lives. Don Miguel Luiz says that “always doing your best will allow you to avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret. So, in order to do our best and live our best lives, see the tips below:

1. Confidence is the root of all things. When you're confident you're not acting from a source of fear. To eliminate fear, you must take action an something which scares you. Boosting your confidence means betting on yourself and your ability. So, try something new every day! A new food, mending a

relationship, a fun activity, a new style. Nike said it best, “Just do it!”

2. Express gratitude! In the notes section of your phone, in your planner, or on a piece of paper, write down all of the things you’re grateful for. Once you reflect on your blessings, you'll never feel like you are lacking, which helps boost your self-esteem.

3. Focus on solutions! Instead of scrolling on social media, day cramming and wishing to have something someone else has- take action! Save the content that is making you feel negative and turn it into inspiration and action so you can see results. This can be anything from working out, saving money for your next trip, or opening yourself up to get into a new relationship… which we'll talk about right now *winks* keep on reading!


Someone once said, "the quality of your life is the quality of your relationships.” You felt that, right? It’s fair to say that once social media was introduced, the dynamics and expectations of relationships did a 360. Back in the day, R&B singers used to be singing their hearts out about how much they love and appreciate their partner. Today, it’s the opposite. Even being in parties, do you notice how many people are sitting down on their phones? If not, observe your surroundings the next time you are out.

The whole point of building healthy relationships is to pour into and nourish

them, but we can't do that with our heads down. Most of the downs of relationships come from miscommunication, and because we aren't clear of what we need in order to feel good in the relationship.

This where not making assumptions comes in handy. Miguel Don Ruiz says, "find the courage to ask questions and express what you really want and communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama.

Now, let step up the quality of our lives.


1. Be committed to not being on your phone during social gatherings, except if it's for photos. Doing this will make you look friendlier and more approachable.

2. Instead of talking through direct messaging, FaceTime someone or meet with them in person.

3. Introduce yourself to someone when you're in a new setting.

4. Tum off push notifications so you're less likely to check your phone mid- conversation.

5. Set up a time during the day when you're not on social media, whether that is in the morning so you can have a batter start to your day or at night so you can truly unwind. Doing this will make it easier for you to stay off of your phone while with company.

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