melanin magic of music

Submitted by: Mars (Instagram: @marsramlogs)

about the playlist

i created the playlist “blk/brwn femme self-luvin’” to empower any racialized babes who identify as a femme. originally created within the queer-trans community, these terms are automatically and subconsciously assumed as white identities. they become the norm. we hardly, or never, see black and brown bodies included in these labels and visions of what queerness and transness can look like. also, people connect femmeness to womanhood and that’s problematic. not all women identify as femme and not just women identify as femme. we need to move towards broadening our scope on what these words mean to us individually and collectively. the future is femme, fluid, and full of melanin.

behind the playlist

music has always been a passion of mine since i can remember. it started with watching bollywood films and then doing bollywood dance as a child. through that, i discovered my true love for everything that music encompasses – storytelling, igniting movement, invoking feeling. i remember spending hours as a teen downloading albums off of Limewire and creating the perfect iTunes library. i was always skipping my classes in highschool to hang out in the music room and jam out. that’s when i began my own songwriting and taking music more seriously in my life. it’s always been an outlet for me as i unpack heavy feels around my trauma and experience as a queer-trans femme of colour.

as a now aspiring DJ and singer-songwriter, i’ve decided to start making playlists like i used to but with the intention of learning which songs transition best with others. it’s a like a fun puzzle for me. also, creating playlists that speak to a certain experience (like for when you’re dealing with heartbreak or for when you want to feel like the fiercest femme or when you’re mad at the system) is all the more exciting and important.

there’s always a song for something and that brings me hope in knowing i’m not the only person dealing with hard shit sometimes. music collectivizes and is an extremely powerful force culturally. music is a mode of resistance and has been used to spread messages / call out our broken system and the people upholding it. in the midst of our busy lives trying to survive under a colonial-capitalistic structure, it’s hard to have the self-care time we always want or need. for me, music is a way for me to connect with myself every day amidst the chaos.

i want to make space for the experiences and stories that get overlooked in my own music and with these playlists. featuring local artists, artists of colour, and QTBIPOC is crucial to me. in my playlists, on my social media, in my own pursuit in music, and as an activist.

recognition and representation is important.

i never saw people like me that i could view as a possibility model in pursuing music in any way.1 especially in an industry so white and male-centric can be inspired to follow their dreams. i then fell across people like Vivek Shraya, I.M. Brown, Alysha Brilla, and Nino Brown. they showed me people i identified with who were successful musicians and DJs. they were doing what i always wanted to do.

1 possibility model: a term used by Laverne Cox in place of “role model”.


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