President Obama has motivated many people to do quite a number of things. This time around, he’s inspired us to create our own playlist. Instead of being a summer list like the commander in chief, ours focuses on what pushes us to create. These are the songs that we listen to during the long days after multiple staff meetings. These are songs that get us excited before speaking engagements. Some are records we just bump in the car or blast through the headphones. It’s a mix of old and new. Enjoy!
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The MrJeffDess List
1. Nas Album Done -DJ Khaled;Nas
I’m a huge fan of Nas. This song excites me in part because of the Fu Gee La sample but more importantly it gives me hope for a new Nas album. It really pushes me to continue writing and growing upon my legacy.
2. Radio Silence – James Blake
3. Ultralight Beam – Kanye West
4. To Be Young Gifted and Black – Nina Simone
This summer was filled with some trying times for America and certainly for Black people. There’s one artist I turn to for help during times of trepidation. Nina Simone might be my favorite artist of all time and when a voice is needed to help understand or inspire, Nina’s is there.
5. Chase – Giorigo Moroder
6. One Day More – Les Miserables Soundtrack
I know everyone is on their Hamilton kick, but I’m going back to old faithful. I love Les Mis and this song does a great job of bringing back so many characters from the musical. It shows how powerful we can be when we all come together. It’s my unity anthem.
7. Believe in Yourself – Brown Rice Family
This Brooklyn based band is one the most diverse and invigorating groups I’ve ever seen. They dance, they rap and just bring the energy. We tell our students to believe in themselves all the time. Sometimes when we forget to practice what we preach, this song is here for me.
8. Biznis Pam – Djakout Mizik
I am proud Haitian American and there’s no way I was leaving Kompa music off this list. This song title translates into My Business. I’m all about the business of getting work done and if you don’t like, that your business!


The Professor Williams List
1. I Wonder – Kanye West
A song where Kanye is describing the feelings of executing your dreams. As student affairs professionals we must bring out the best in ourselves and students. Students should feel the same exoneration once they completed their degree program.
2. U, Black Maybe – Common
As an educator working in and out of inner cities this song hits home. The social issues touched in this song are amazing and can keep folks in higher education motivated while dealing with different cohorts of students. . The first two lines sums up so much for me: ” I said a whites man yes is a black maybe// I was delivered in this world as a crack baby
3. Lord Knows – Drake; Rick Ross
4. Ball Drops – Fabolous; French Montana
5. March Madness – Future
6. Alright – Kendrick Lamar
For years I have watched certain groups succeed despite racism and oppression. As student affairs members we are plagued with budget constraints, enrollment issues and long hours. Kendrick reminds us with this hit no matter what, “We Gon be alright!”
7. Blood on the Leaves – Kanye West
8. People Make the World go Round – The Stylistics
A classic from one of my favorite movies, “Crooklyn” is a simple reminder without unity this world can’t survive. We must work as a team in student affairs to keep the institute running properly for our students. Without people institutes don’t survive as well.