Midori & Friends Celebrates Black History Month

Midori & Friends is thrilled to share a very special playlist in honor of Black History Month! The month of February has been a special time to celebrate and uplift black voices, businesses, artists and communities, but Midori & Friends urges everyone to continue this celebration year-round. The playlist below celebrates the work of black musicians that span time and genre, but every artist has made an impact on music history in their own way. Special thanks to Young Professionals Board member, Justin Bass, for leading the curation of this playlist! Enjoy, share and celebrate through this week and beyond.  

I chose these songs to celebrate Black History Month but also to remind myself of how healing music can be. From Marvin Gaye to TLC, I see myself and discover new parts of myself every time I listen to these songs. I hope this playlist takes you on a journey, like it has for me and Happy Black History Month. – Justin Bass, Midori & Friends Young Professionals Board

Artists represented on the playlist:

Marvin Gaye 

Luther Vandross

Andra Day

Ms. Lauryn Hill

I had to confront my fears and master my every demonic thought about inferiority, insecurity, or the fear of being black, young, and gifted in this Western culture. – Ms. Lauryn Hill


Chaka Khan

Stevie Wonder

Music, at its essence, is what gives us memories. And the longer a song has existed in our lives, the more memories we have of it. – Stevie Wonder

Janet Jackson

Bill Withers

I write and sing about whatever I am able to understand and feel. I feel that it is healthier to look out at the world through a window than through a mirror. Otherwise, all you see is yourself and whatever is behind you. – Bill Withers

Aretha Franklin

Jill Scott

Soul music is about longevity and reaching and touching people on a human level – and that’s never going to get lost. – Jill Scott


Smokey Robinson

One thing I can say about the Motown acts is that we were a family. That’s not a myth. – Smokey Robinson

Alicia Keys


George McCrea

DeJ Loaf

Leon Bridges

My music is more than me writing a flashy soul song. They’re heartfelt songs about my family and true stories. I have also songs that aren’t personal, but just painting a picture. I don’t like being put under labels, but my music is going to continue to stay classic and timeless forever. – Leon Bridges

Ella Fitzgerald

I know I’m no glamour girl, and it’s not easy for me to get up in front of a crowd of people. It used to bother me a lot, but now I’ve got it figured out that God gave me this talent to use, so I just stand there and sing. – Ella Fitzgerald

Louis Armstrong

Michael Jackson


I don’t have to prove anything to anyone. I only have to follow my heart and concentrate on what I want to say to the world. I run my world. – Beyoncé

Jay Z

Blue Ivy



Queen Latifah

Fear can be good when you’re walking past an alley at night or when you need to check the locks on your doors before you go to bed, but it’s not good when you have a goal and you’re fearful of obstacles. We often get trapped by our fears, but anyone who has had success has failed before. – Queen Latifah

Jamila Woods

The Notorious B.I.G.

How real can your music be if you wake up in the morning hearing birds and crickets? I never hear birds when I wake up. Just a lot of construction work, the smell of Chinese takeout, children screaming, and everybody knocking a different track from Ready to Die as they pass down the street. – The Notorious B.I.G. 

The Foundations

Burna Boy

Earth, Wind & Fire


Everybody’s at war with different things…I’m at war with my own heart sometimes – Tupac Shakur

Celia Cruz

When people hear me sing, I want them to be happy, happy, happy. I don’t want them thinking about when there’s not any money, or when there’s fighting at home. My message is always felicidad – happiness. – Celia Cruz

The Temptations

Teyana Taylor

Harlem is a stage. It’s like its own planet, from the way we dress to the swag in the way we walk and talk. – Teyana Taylor

Janelle Monáe

Marvin Gaye

I hope to refine music, study it, try to find some area that I can unlock. I don’t quite know how to explain it but it’s there. These can’t be the only notes in the world, there’s got to be other notes some place, in some dimension, between the cracks on the piano keys. – Marvin Gaye

Louie Vega

Duke Ellington

Corinne Bailey Rae

Erykah Badu

Hopefully my music is medicine, some type of antidote for something or some kind of explanation or just to feel good. – Erikah Badu

Anderson .Paak



Faith Evans

I’m really an inner spirit that only makes itself known through the music. A lot of people think I’m an introvert, or quiet and moody. I’ve even heard some people say that there’s a certain mystery or darkness about me. I’m not that way. I’m just really into what I do. – Faith Evans

Al Green


As a black woman, I’ve always had to work hard to earn my respect as a musician – and as a young woman, too. As a writer, in certain sessions or certain rooms people think, ‘Who’s kid is this? Who’s this little girl?’ I’ve had to prove myself. – H.E.R. (Gabriella Wilson)



The Emotions

Bob Marley & The Wailers

Life is one big road with lots of signs. So when you riding through the ruts, don’t complicate your mind. Flee from hate, mischief and jealousy. Don’t bury your thoughts, put your vision to reality. Wake Up and Live! – Bob Marley 

Arlo Parks




When you become the image of your own imagination, it’s the most powerful thing you could ever do. – RuPaul

DJ Casper

The Live Platinum Band




Nina Simone

Life is short. People are not easy to know. They’re not easy to know, so if you don’t tell them how you feel, you’re not going to get anywhere, I feel. – Nina Simone


Vanessa Williams

Liann La Havas

Gladys Knight & The Pips

We all have a responsibility, and since I’ve been so wonderfully blessed, I really want to share and to make life at least a little better. So every chance I get to share the gospel or uplift people, I will take full advantage of that opportunity. – Gladys Knight

Donna Summer 

I don’t care if I’m beautiful; I don’t care what I am on the outside. It isn’t about the outside. – Donna Summer

Emeli Sandé

Mary J. Blige

As a child I always wanted to be a singer. The music my mother played in the house moved me—Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, and Mahalia Jackson. It was truly spiritual. It made you understand what God was. We are all spirits. We get depressed. But music makes you want to live. I know my music has saved my life. –  Mary J. Blige

En Vogue


Whitney Houston

What’s black? I’ve been trying to figure this out since I’ve been in the business. I don’t know how to sing black-and I don’t know how to sing white, either. I know how to sing. Music is not a color to me. It’s an art. – Whitney Houston

Dianna Ross

I’m not really a songwriter – I’m an interpreter. So in a sense I am an actress first and foremost. I act out the songs, and I lead with my heart. – Dianna Ross

Mariah Carrey


Missy Elliott

I believe that tracks speak to me. Some tracks make me write certain music or make me feel sad or inspire me to write a sad love song. Each track has its feeling to me. – Missy Elliott


Cheryl Lynn

Tevin Campbell

I didn’t have much of a relationship with the songs and my voice was changing. I didn’t have any control over it. I mean, one day it could be high and the next day it could be gone. And that’s why we had to keep going back in and doing songs over. – Tevin Campbell

Blu Cantrell

Carl Carlton


I stay true to myself and my style, and I am always pushing myself to be aware of that and be original. – Aaliyah

William Grant Still

The Annex Quartet

Marisa Anderson

For every choice made, every path taken, there are multitudes of choices not made, paths not taken – Marisa Anderson