Soul music through time

Eliot Klus

A product of the black gospel tradition in America, soul music emerged in the 1950s and has remained relevant ever since. Artists from James Brown to Aretha Franklin to Frank Ocean have drawn their inspiration from soul, attracted to its “secular testifying.” The music is a cultural artifact, providing an outlet for black expression through the Civil Rights Movement, mass incarceration, and the Black Lives Matter movement. Despite its political nature, soul is often dance music, and some variants even cross over into pop. This playlist has music to dance to, to cry to and, most importantly, to be proud in your identity and expression.