As one of the faces of the anti-racism movement in Canada, Sandy Hudson, it's safe to say, has had a fairly intense few weeks. The co-founder of Black Lives Matter Toronto—who we recently interviewed—has been everywhere, debating talking heads on TV news channels, rallying against systemic racism at protests, and writing op-eds spreading the #DefundThePolice message. So how's she managed not to run herself ragged? By listening to dope music.
Just as Martin Luther King Jr. called the civil rights era's freedom songs “the soul of the movement,” to this day activists use music as a way to unify their collective intensity, mobilize others, and fuel their movement. Hudson herself listens to a wide array of Canadian artists in all manner of contexts—she'll rock TOBi's protest anthem "24 (Toronto Remix)" to get charged up before a televized debate, or put on some Shi Widsom to help her decompress after a long day. With that in mind, she made Complex Canada a playlist of songs she's been rocking while fighting racism on the daily.
"This playlist illustrates how my energy shifts during the day when I'm engaged in a lot of organizing," says Hudson. "In the last couple weeks, I have listened to the first five songs on repeat every morning because they just get me in the right headspace for the uphill battle that is the struggle against anti-Blackness. There's a lot of comfort for me in the sounds of reggae and the reggae-inspired sound of '90s Toronto hip-hop, and that's what the mid-section represents." In evenings, she might play some disco-inspired bangers by Tush or some uptempo Weeknd hits for the energy boost needed to tackle writing or planning for the days ahead. The final few songs on the playlist, she says, "are a calming denouement; an end-of-day meditation on love, survival and healing—and all of us fighting anti-Blackness could use a regular dose of all three."
One song she wanted to add that wasn't available on Spotify: Michie Mee's defiant 1999 anthem "Don't Wanna Be Your Slave."
Listen to Hudson's playlist below.