Cyanca. Photo: Amy Vanderplow

June is Black Music Month. Throughout history, Black artists in America have carried on the West African traditions of being griots, oral storytellers that use their skills to help us preserve our culture and recall critical times in history. Black music is an outlet to share the highs and lows of our experiences.

The Covid-19 pandemic and recent fatal police-involved shootings of unarmed Black people, subsequently leading to protests and riots, have weighed heavily on our community. Like generations before us, Black people often use music as a cathartic release.

In honor of Black Music Month, we’re introducing Music of the Movement, a series featuring Charlotte artists who handpicked some of their favorite tracks or albums by Black artists about activism, racial and social justice, unity or inspiration.


R&B singer-songwriter, producer, musician 

Cyanca, the soulful songstress raised in Smithfield, North Carolina, blends elements of R&B, jazz, and hip-hop. She’s had the Queen City vibing with tracks like the “New Phone” and “Patti Mayonnaise.”

Inspired by her Baptist church roots and neo-soul artists like Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill, Cyanca’s selections for Music of the Movement focus on Black empowerment, pride and womanhood. 

  • “Black 2” – Buddy
  • “What’s Going On” – Marvin Gaye
  • “A Seat at the Table” (album) – Solange
  • “Champion” – Kanye West
  • “Alright” – Kendrick Lamar

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