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The Music That Gets Us Through: Hannah

Photo by Hannah Minks

Music can inspire, enrage, excite, quiet, trouble, and move us in powerful ways. In this unique summer season, IFYC wants to share a window into our incredible team by regularly sharing playlists from team members. This week’s contribution is from Hannah Minks, Program Manager at IFYC. Hannah received her BA in Theology and is currently earning her MA in Religious Studies. She comes to her role having taught theology at the high school level for a handful of years, always through the lens of pluralism. Most of her time at IFYC is spent developing curriculum, training students, and communicating with the network. 

Before working at IFYC, I taught religion in Catholic high schools—additionally, I’ve been DJing weddings for the last decade. A few years ago, one of my students spoke in class about grieving the loss of her dad. It had been a while since he passed away, and her pain was as palpable as if he died yesterday. Despite years of education in theology and ministry and working in jobs where I can only excel insofar as I build empathetic relationships, I never know what to say when people are going through pain and grief. 

It so happened that my student’s father was one of the Isley Brothers. I called her to my desk after class and told her that I play her dad’s music at nearly every wedding I DJ. “The floor lights up with joy every time.” She flashed the biggest smile, and the next day I had a sweet handwritten note on my desk describing how much that meant to her.  

For better or for worse, I’m wired to address pain through reminders of joy. I understand the complications of this. I would never want to haphazardly smear over important sufferingIt's necessary to live through, and as a great deal of ancient wisdom tells us—suffering is no doubt transformative. But gotta say, joy sure is good medicine along the way.  

So, I offer this playlist (listen on Spotify), celebrating Black voices that have brought me great joy and helped me through the pain. 

  1. The Isley Brothers – Shout, Pts. 1 &2 
  2. Shirley Ellis – The Nitty Gritty
  3. Mark Morrison – Return of the Mack 
  4. Dionne Warwick – I Say a Little Prayer 
  5. Khruangbin, Leon Bridges – Texas Sun 
  6. Supreme Jubilees – Do You Believe 
  7. The Avalanches – Because I’m Me 
  8. Lenny Kravitz – It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over 
  9. The Temptations – Get Ready 
  10. Stevie Wonder – Don't You Worry ‘Bout A Thing 
  11. Lyn Collins – Think (About It) 
  12. Mos Def – Crime & Medicine 
  13. Frankie Knuckles – You Got the Love 
  14. Four Tops – Reach Out I’ll Be There 
  15. Love – Always See Your Face 
  16. The Staple Singers – A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall 
  17. Sam Cooke – If I Had A Hammer 
  18. Brittany Howard – Stay High 
  19. TLC – Waterfalls 
  20. Shanice – I Love Your Smile 
  21. Etta James – In the Basement 
  22. The Spinners – It's A Shame 
  23. Weaves – Wide Open 
  24. Nina Simone – Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood 
  25. Nat King Cole – Stardust 

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