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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

White Pity & White Guilt

by Matthew Madrigal

In 2019, it’s truly perplexing to see white people react the way they have to the recent incidents that have transpired regarding race and bigotry at Syracuse University.

I’m not referring to the silent white people who absolutely know they’re wrong and keep silent. They know if they opened their mouths for long enough, any decently intelligent person could sniff out the racism in their ideologies. I’m talking about the outspoken “accepting” white people in these matters who painfully try to perform their “wokeness” to people of color to assert that they are an ally. The funniest part about all of this is how much they expose about themselves when they open their mouths about it.

I recently read an article regarding the recent incidents occurring all over campus. It was very well-intentioned, and I give credit where credit is due. It had a good heart. Sadly there was something uncomfortable about it that I don’t think most people recognized upon reading it. The writer claims how they were ignorant of the racism that people of color face on a daily basis, and it was an eye-opening experience for them. They were “shocked” to learn about the disadvantages, oppression, disrespect, and hardships people go through on a daily basis due to the color of their skin.

I really wonder why that was. Today, in the age of information, the social media generation, the Tumblr kids, Gen Z, whatever name you’d like to refer to the current zeitgeist as you would think these people would know better. Have you been so sheltered from the world, both in a historic and modern sense, that you were truly ignorant about what was going on?

Or were you just willfully ignorant?

Most white people who are outspokenly “shocked” to hear about what’s going on and learn about this, can fall into one of two categories. I place shocked in quotation marks because I don’t think anybody with a functional brain living in this day and age, especially somebody going to a large university, could be ignorant of the fact that this is happening. The two categories follow as such:

1. They don’t have many friends of color, therefore they mostly hang around people who look and think similar to them. When a large group of white people gets together, it’s not hard to imagine these people making disparaging remarks (even if jokingly) about people of color. And that’s to say it lightly. When white people are together, knowing nobody’s going to snitch on anybody, and if they all seem to share similar mindsets, it is easy to believe they will throw around the words “n****r” and “sp*c” and words of the like without really batting an eye. Even if it’s “just a joke bro”. Therefore, when they say they are “shocked” to hear about racism and how it affects people of color, they’re just putting on a front and pretending to act as if “they never knew how it really is.'' Yes, you do. You’re only lying to us and to yourself.

2. The alternative “shocked” white person is one that would be traditionally considered more liberal, and even might go as far as to call themselves “woke”. This kind of person has friends of color (and often, they pride themselves on having friends of color) and would never in their life want to be viewed as a racist because they’re “not” by the textbook standard of the word. And they’re probably right, they genuinely do care about making diverse friends and have empathy for the people of color that they do know. They probably do try to the best of their ability to not be racist. However, this type of person could be more detrimental to progress than the other type, due to the fact that it is hard to tell where they truly stand. They could be hiding in plain sight, so to speak. With the other kind, usually, you know that what you see is what you get.

Consider this — if you are friends with people of color, even if only a few, how are you actually shocked that this is happening? Do they not tell you about their experiences in the world? Or are you too afraid to cover that topic with them? Or maybe they don’t feel comfortable speaking about that topic and sharing their true feelings about it with you. Or maybe, even if they do share those experiences and stories with you, how are you now still shocked to hear what is going? Did you never actually believe them? Were you only half-listening? It’s all circumstantial but if you feel targeted by this, feel free to circle whichever scenario applies to you. It may be more than one.

Anybody who considers themselves an “ally” should not be filled with what is called white guilt. What are you guilty for? Do you still silently perpetuate and uphold systems of racism and oppression that you swear you fight against? You should have nothing to be guilty about if you’ve done nothing wrong and have treated people the way they should be treated.

Anybody intellectually and emotionally capable of understanding the structure of racism in oppression in America will understand what is wrong and why it is wrong, but there should be no guilt involved unless you have personally done something to be a part of that. To be white and filled with guilt rather than filled with a willingness to be understanding, accepting, and empathetic is insulting and limiting to all people of color.

Beyond that, white guilt stems from another subconscious root deep down that most people are probably unaware of within themselves. They often feel guilty and have superb amounts of pity towards people of color because they usually see them as a black person, rather than a person who is black. Anybody with a half-decent heart and brain sees somebody as a human being first, and then afterward understands the factors involved with that person's skin color or ethnicity.

We shouldn’t see one another as a white person or a black person but rather as a person who is white or a person who is black, and understand that because of their skin color, they face and undergo different experiences than we do. People of all colors face adversity in America and across the globe in different ways. We as people must do our best to fully understand the scope and nuances of every color, nationality, and ethnicity. We are responsible as human beings who live in a multicultural world with other human beings who do not look exactly like us.

This is not to say, as many people do, that we should “not see color''. Rather, this calls for the opposite. Race, in the biological sense, does not change anything about us, physically, mentally, or emotionally. However, race is entirely different in a sociological sense. Being black does not physically or mentally limit any persons’ capability to accomplish something. Although being black in America, one is socially limited by systems and beliefs that have existed in this country for hundreds of years that can hold them back. When people can see the color of someone's skin and not let it affect their view on them, but rather compel them to seek understanding in the person, it is when they can truly have an educated and appropriate conversation about race.

To automatically view somebody simply through the lens of their skin tone rather than the fact that they are a living, breathing person who is simply existing on this lonely little planet just trying their best and loves, cries, suffers, smiles, screams, and asks big questions the same way you do, that is when you can truly see people as people first.

That is where empathy begins. On a human to human level. Factoring in their skin color, with an educated and informed approach to the history of the world, American history, and the current world we’re living in, will make you more empathetic and accepting, because you will get a more well-rounded understanding of their experience and why they may feel certain ways about things, or may act certain ways, or may think certain ways. This cannot be truly achieved if you do not see them as human beings first.

This is not a call for political correctness or changing of language. We do not have to refer to people as “that person who is black” or “that person who is white”. They’re a black person. They’re a white person. Rather, this is a call for changes in our approach to how we think of other people.

I found it incredibly interesting, that about four days into these incidents, once Greek life became a part of the discussion, every fraternity and sorority quickly rushed to throw together a cute little colorful flyer to “stand in solidarity” with #NotAgainSU and share how their organization respects every creed and color, and stands against racism. Oh, how life can be so ironic.

Following each fraternity or sorority posting this, a plethora of members in each organization shared it to their own personal Instagram story. A rather easy way to “do something” without really doing something. Posting a picture saying you stand in solidarity with something, and physically protesting and literally standing in solidarity with a movement are two entirely different things. It seems to me that many of these Greek life people used this as their quick and easy “Don’t blame me, I’m not racist” pass.

It doesn’t impress me.

Interestingly enough, did you pay attention to how many more people began sharing articles, posts, and reports to their stories once there was a chance that they could get out of class for the day? White people are not the target of the white supremacist threats towards the people of color at school, yet when they see the potential in “reaping the benefits” to skip class, they will jump right on. (I hesitate to use the phrase because there truly are no beneficial things happening towards students of color at the time, especially threats of gun violence and mass shootings.)

I don’t write this with any malicious intent towards white people. I just think the conversation amongst white people is the same conversation we’ve been having for way too long. “Black people have it so bad, it must be so hard for them! I feel so bad for them!” This is a conversation amongst so many whites and it never really goes anywhere.

The place we should be looking is within ourselves and asking ourselves “Why do black people have it so bad in this country? Why don’t I have it as bad as them? What am I doing to change that, or on the other hand, uphold that?” Start being critical of yourself, not pitiful of others. Call out your friends. Make this upcoming Thanksgiving the most uncomfortable one yet. Do something to change your mind as well as the minds of the people around you.

As Malcolm X wrote in the final pages of his autobiography,

“I tell sincere white people, 'Work in conjunction with us- each of us working among our own kind.' Let sincere white individuals find all other white people they can who feel as they do- and let them form their own all-white groups, to work trying to convert other white people who are thinking and acting so racist. Let sincere whites go and teach non-violence to white people!”

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