In the various rallies and demonstrations that have sprouted up since the November election, two sounds have echoed around the country (maybe even around the world) that have rang louder than the chants for democracy and equality: the voices of rappers Kendrick Lamar and YG.
Lamar’s “Alright” and YG’s “FDT” are now equivalent to millennial resistance. Their magic is their ability to blend the turn up with the march. From the house party to the club to your friend’s car, these two tracks have inspired movement in all kinds of ways.
But this idea of music, specifically dance music, acting as an art of resistance began decades ago. In this climate of cultural uncertainty, when we know we need something new in pop culture to unite and inspire, I’m asking us to turn to disco.
Disco was a music originally made by and for the underrepresented. For people of color and the LGBTQIA+ communities, life outside the nightclub was one of fear and secrecy. Disco clubs provided a space where they could be whoever they wanted to be, move however they wanted to move and celebrate each other.
We need another movement like disco that sounds and looks completely different. Something that doesn’t appeal to white supremacy and reminds people that the world hasn’t run out of ideas yet. Read on for my top-10 disco songs (in no particular order) and remember that change on the dancefloor can lead to change on the Senate floor.
Jimmy Ross – “First True Love Affair (Larry Levan Mix) : A discussion of disco’s revolutionary potential would be incomplete without bowing down to Larry Levan. Levan mixed at Paradise Garage, what has now been known as the first modern dance club. His sets would literally last all night, requiring hours and hours of music until sunrise. Although very little has been written about Paradise Garage and there is almost no footage of Levan DJ sets, his name and the venue are still spoken about in reverence, almost like a mythology.
Donna Summer – “Wasted” 
Kenix feat. Bobby Youngblood – “There’s Never Been (No One Like You)” 
Taana Gardner – “Heartbeat” 
Jennifer Vyban – “Miracles” 
Dinosaur L – “Go Bang (Francois K Mix)” : Dinosaur L was one of the many toes Arthur Russell had dipped in the New York disco pool. If you haven’t heard of Arthur Russell, please, look him up now and watch this documentary. Also, what is more inspiring than a chorus that repeats “I just want to see all my friends at once”?
Raw Silk – “Do It To the Music” 
Chemise – “She Can’t Love You” 
Lace – “Can’t Play Around” 
Loose Joints – “Is It All Over my Face? (Larry Levan Remix)”  – To close out the playlist, we will unite Arthur Russell and Larry Levan in this ultimate groove that has been sampled and remixed countless times. Levan remixes the version featuring Melvina Woods on vocals. Check out the Male Vocal version too for extended vibes!