Black women don’t necessarily like a song just because it’s pretty. Most of the time, we gravitate to music that has a message — whether it’s about love (the good times and the bad) or a celebration of life and its many bounties. Also, to get our attention, an artist better put their all into it. In other words, they better sang their hearts out.

To celebrate Black History Month and the Grammys this Sunday, we put together a list of albums that embody our struggles, our triumphs, our pain, and our immeasurable joy.

From Mary J. Blige’s “My Life” to Lauryn Hill’s “The “Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” here are 25 albums every Black woman needs in the soundtrack to her life.

Loading the player...