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The Nasiona’s Black Is Beautiful Playlist

Original music for the video above was produced by the Grammy Award-winning team of Joe Sparkman and Marcus Allen, aka The Heavyweights. This track has also been The Nasiona Podcast’s theme song from episodes 28 to the present.

Music and oral narrators have always told stories that are as powerful, as moving as personal essays, and we at The Nasiona want to honor these tradition. For the second compilation audio volume of our BIPOC Music + Spoken Word Series, we seek submissions of tracks that align with our vision of centering, elevating, and amplifying Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, shedding light on neglected and intersectional identity experiences, while also celebrating our beauty, intelligence, creativity, and joy.

Whether you record your music or spoken word professionally, or whether you have gone the DIY way throughout; whether you are an emerging indie artist, or have never released a track or album; or whether you have simply felt overlooked by the mainstream musical landscape: we believe in your voice, your story, and your talent; and we want your work!

Tell us about growing up as a third culture kid, about living through trauma, about being misgendered, about slice-of-life instances of resolution. Tell us about your elations, your sorrows, your moments of quiet tenacity, your rallying cries of rage. Send us a track (or two, or three!) that tells a story, whether in words or through instrumentals. If it matters to you, it deserves a platform.

All genres and languages are welcome. If you identify as BIPOC, we want to showcase your work and profile you.

We can’t wait to experience to your work!

Note that we are here to center, elevate, and amplify your work. You keep all the rights to your work.

With our BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL playlist below, we strive to center, elevate, and amplify the voices and musical talents of these storytellers.

Chances are you may not know everyone on our playlist. This is intentional, because we hope to introduce you to artists you may not discover by simply following American Top-40-type of lists and countdowns.

Much of the genius of our communities is marginalized, undervalued, overlooked, silenced, or forgotten. So, here we are centering a mere sliver of the greatness that exists in the world.

Curated by The Nasiona team, this introduction is more than a simple opportunity for you to learn and be entertained. No. Not just that. That's a bonus.

What we really hope you'll do is commit to taking action to support these artists, purchase their music, share their work, use your influence and power to create access to opportunity, and become long-term patrons.

We hope the playlist below animates your body, inspires your soul, and moves your wallet. As we try to impact equity, one critical thing we can all do is buy and experience the works created and produced by Black artists.

This first volume of The Nasiona’s music series encapsulates all the glorious highs and the searing lows of navigating the world as an empathetic, curious individual. The works contained in this volume — from mournful piano compositions, dazzling spoken word, spellbinding vocal layered-songs, to beautiful instrumentals — express the intricacies of being an artist of color in a too-often indifferent world; and like the scent that lingers long after the downpour, these masterpieces ask you to sit awhile, to close your eyes, to pay attention.

ALBUM PRODUCERS

Aïcha Martine Thiam
Julián Esteban Torres López

Julián Esteban Torres López (he/him/él) is a bilingual, Colombia-born storyteller, public scholar, and culture architect with Afro-Euro-Indigenous roots. For two decades, Julián has worked toward humanizing those Othered by oppressive systems and dominant cultures. He is the creator of the social justice storytelling movement The Nasiona, where he also hosts and produces The Nasiona Podcast. He’s a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and Best Small Fictions nominee; a Trilogy Award in Short Fiction finalist; a McNair Fellow; and the author of Marx’s Humanism and Its Limits and Reporting On Colombia. His poetry collection, Ninety-Two Surgically Enhanced Mannequins, is available now. His work appears in PANK Magazine, Into the Void Magazine, The Acentos Review, Novus Literary and Arts Journal, Havic 2021: Inside Brilliance, among others. Julián holds a bachelor’s in philosophy and in communication and a master’s in justice studies from the University of New Hampshire and was a Ph.D. candidate at the University of British Columbia Okanagan, where he focused on political science and Latin American studies.