Watch: Top 12 Black anthem songs

Raise your fists and check out theGrio’s list of top Black anthem songs

During June, we celebrate Juneteenth, now a federally recognized holiday that commemorates the end of this country’s worst sin, slavery. For Black Music Month, also celebrated in June, theGrio crafted a list of the Top 12 Black anthem songs. Some are obvious, like the Black National Anthem or our #1 song, a James Brown classic. Others are definitely for the culture and represent us proudly. So pump your fists and Happy Juneteenth! 

12. “Dreams and Nightmares” – Meek Mill 

(Courtesy: Meek Mill / Youtube)

“Dreams and Nightmares” comes from the debut album of the same name by Philly rapper Meek Mill. The music transition in the middle of the track switches and gets every crowd hyped. 

11. “Melodies From Heaven” – Kirk Franklin 

(Courtesy: Kirk Franklin / Youtube)

Nothing compares to the harmonies sung on the Kirk Franklin & the Family hit “Melodies From Heaven.” 

10. “When I See You” – Fantasia 

(Courtesy: Fantasia / Youtube)

“When I See You” comes from singer Fantasia Barrino’s self-titled second album, released in 2006. The song went to No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop songs chart. It’s seen a reemergence recently with a new generation of fans enjoying every lyric. 

9. “Lift Every Voice and Sing” 

(Courtesy: Tasha Cobbs Leonard / YouTube)

“Lift Every Voice and Sing” was written in 1900 by James Weldon Johnson. 124 years later, the song is now known as the Black National Anthem. 

8. “This Is How We Do It” – Montell Jordan 

(Courtesy: Montell Jordan / Youtube)

Singer Montell Jordan’s debut single “This Is How We Do It” was released in 1995 but the song still plays like it was just released yesterday. 

7. “Redemption Song” – Bob Marley 

(Courtesy: Bob Marley & the Wailers / Youtube)

Considered one of his greatest hits, “Redemption Song” features Jamaican singer Bob Marley in an acoustic recording. It’s just his voice and a guitar. 

6. “This Is America” – Childish Gambino 

(Courtesy: Childish Gambino / YouTube)

This 2018 hit from rapper Childish Gambino, aka Donald Glover, caused quite a stir when it was released. The song’s lyrics tackle some of this country’s biggest issues, including systemic racism, prejudice, and violence. Rappers Young Thug, 21 Savage, Slim Jxmmi, BlackBoy JB, and Quavo all appear on the record. 

5. “Swag Surfin’” – F.L.Y. Fast Life Yungstaz featuring Easton

(Courtesy: F.L.Y. / YouTube)

“Swag Surfin’” is the debut hit single from rappers Fast Life Yungstaz. If you’re at a cookout, party, sporting event, or more, you’re sure to hear the song and have to get into the dance. The song has gained so much popularity, it’s the unofficial anthem of the WNBA’s Washington Mystics. 

4. “Knuck If You Buck” – Crime Mob 

(Courtesy: Crime Mob / YouTube)

It’s been 20 years since “Knuck If You Buck” was released from Southern rap group Crime Mob. Another staple at Black events, the song features fellow rapper Lil Scrappy. Actors Sterling K. Brown and Regina Hall can be seen reciting the lyrics word for word in the film “Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.” 

3. “Alright” – Kendrick Lamar 

(Courtesy: Kendrick Lamar / YouTube)

Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp a Butterfly” album gave us a line repeated often in the culture…”we gon be alright.” The song “Alright” won two Grammys at the 58th annual awards show in 2016, for best rap song and best rap performance. 

2. “Fight the Power” – Public Enemy

(Courtesy: Channel Zero / YouTube)

1989’s “Fight the Power” by Public Enemy is considered one of the greatest protest anthems of all time. The song appears on the “Do The Right Thing” soundtrack, as well as Public Enemy’s album “Fear of a Black Planet.” The song is the inspiration for a PBS docuseries, “Fight the Power: How Hip-Hop Changed the World.” 

1. “Say It Loud, I’m Black & I’m Proud” – James Brown 

(Courtesy: James Brown / YouTube)

If there’s one song that personifies a Black anthem, it’s the James Brown 1968 classic “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud.” The song has two parts and despite its strong themes surrounding racism in America, it was featured on Brown’s “A Soulful Christmas” album. 

Which songs do you think should have made the list? Watch the video and head over to our Instagram page to let us know your favorite Black anthem songs.