As we continue our celebration of Black History Month, this week's installment of our Collective Listening Project comes to us courtesy of Shawn Maxam. Shawn serves as Senior Associate Director for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion at Princeton University, focusing on strategic initiatives to enhance campus-wide diversity, inclusion, and belonging. His work includes efforts to diversify campus art and iconography and enliven public spaces.
Shawn's playlist takes us on a personal journey from memories listening to and jamming out to CD mixes and music videos with his siblings in Brooklyn, to his undergrad days studying jazz and voice, to songs that have timeless messages whose resonance has become all the more magnified. All of the included tracks are connected by his enthusiasm for music's capacity for fostering joy, reflection, and change—a vision in which we believe deeply.
STEVIE WONDER Love’s in Need of Love Today
Stevie Wonder is one of the greatest artists and songwriters of all time. This is one of my favorites on a classic album Songs in the Key of Life. I feel like the message is always timely.
JANET JACKSON Rhythm Nation
This song is just powerful, and the message resonates today as much as did when first released. I also loved watching the music video while growing up.
WAYNE SHORTER Footprints
I studied jazz in undergrad, and although my instrument was voice, I love the great composers and leaders like Wayne Shorter. This is one of my faves.
ANTWAN PATTON, ANDRE BENJAMIN,
RUBEN BAILEY, ERICA WRIGHT,
JOI GILLIAM, MYRNA CRENSHAW, and THOMAS BURTON Liberation
I played this song on repeat back when I listened to music on CDs. Growing up in Brooklyn, it was strange for one of my favorite rap groups to be from the South. Music was much more regional back then, but Outkast broke through.
ERICA WRIGHT and JAMES YANCEY Didn’t Cha Know
I just love the groove of this song and can recall jamming to this at home with my siblings when we made mixes the old-fashioned way.
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