The Zora Music Canon

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A Collection of the Most Iconic and Impactful Albums by African American Women

I was a contributor to Zora Mag’s list of the 100 most iconic albums by African American women, a thoughtful and exhaustive work that spans seven decades and multiple genres, and I’m so proud to have been part of this work, and excited that it’s finally launched!

 “(The canon) is a celebration. It also functions as amends for the fact that there were not and are not a plethora of media spaces in which Black women in music, in step with their success and influence, are lifted by the American culture machine to genius-level status.

If it weren’t for affinity publications and institutions like Soul Train and BET (which emerged in response to the segregationist mores of mainstream American journalism and broadcasting), we wouldn’t have much detail about the depths of Black genius — by any gender — at all.

I want every Black woman recording artist, songwriter, producer, and music executive — really I want it for every Black woman, period — to receive the confirmation of resilience and brilliance she rightfully deserves. I want canons that explode like real cannons.”

~ Writer and editor Danyel Smith’s introduction to the Zora Music Canon.

Take a look at all four parts of the Zora Music Canon project:

  1. The 100 Most Iconic Albums by African American women
  2. The Unstoppable Genius and Glory of Black women in Music
  3. From Celia Cruz to Rihanna: 15 Albums That Shaped Music
  4. 10 Artists to Listen to Now

And take a listen as you read! Check out Zora’s Spotify page for playlists created around the project!

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