What Are You?: A Situation Playlist

Have you ever been waiting for the bus, sitting in a café, on a promising date, or checking out in a very sketchy Walgreens, and then suddenly like vomit, someone erupts with that seemingly harmless question…”What Are You?”.  Well, SAME.

Feelings on feelings on feelings begin to boil; anger, sadness, perhaps even humor.  Do you tell this person off?  How did this happen…AGAIN?  They’re kidding right?  It’s not the question itself that’s the biggest issue; it is the presumed power and right that the asker attempts to gain by asking it.  You do not receive the privilege of knowing about my background, you do not get an explanation of my culture (which is a haggard conversation for POC), just to be met with a lackluster “oh really?” or “cool! how exotic!”. My identity is not your fetish.

To help you get through the next time you encounter the age-old question, here are some songs that fill you with pride, rage, happiness, and the urge to slap the shit out of someone.

Bomba Estéreo – “Soy Yo”

“Soy Yo” = “That’s Me”

Sony Music


En Vogue – “Free Your Mind”

“Before you can read me you gotta learn how to see me”

East West


Queen – “Don’t Stop Me Now”

“I’m going to go go go, there’s no stopping me”

EMI – Elektra – Melodiya


Missy Elliott – “She’s A Bitch”

“She’s a bitch, when they say my name, talk mo’ junk but won’t look my way”

Goldmind – Elektra


CSS – “Art Bitch”

“Lick lick lick my art-tit, suck suck suck my art-hole”

Sub Pop


Solange – “Don’t Touch My Hair”

“Don’t touch my pride, they say the glory’s all mine, don’t test my mouth, they say the truth is my sound”

Saint – Columbia


Saul Williams – “List of Demands (Reparations)”

“I got a list of demands, written on the palm of my hands”



Erykah Badu – “Cleva”

“But I’m clever when I bust a rhyme, I’m cleva always on ya’ mind”



Gingee – “Gong Spirits”

“Ancient ancestors, they’re here with me, in the beat of the drum, in the strike of the gong, I feel the spirits”


Rocky Rivera – “Brown Babies”

“If brown is wrong, I don’t wanna be right, Jesus Christ, amen, I don’t wanna be white, but every hero to the story, why they gotta be white?”



Shopping – “Take It Outside”

“Outside, can we take this outside? You heard me right, you heard me right”



M.I.A. – “Go Off”

“Go off on em, go off on em”



Outkast – “So Fresh, So Clean”

“(And we are…) the coolest motherfonkers on the planet

Arista – RCA


*Every band/artist on this list includes a POC.






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