Environmental Songs by Black Artists

A key goal of the Earth Song List is to feature a “diversity of voices singing out for the diversity of life.”

We need to do more to lift up Black recording artists for their role in advancing the environmental movement. Their contributions have been lasting and significant, and their songs span decades, countries, and cultures. In their own diverse styles and genres, Black recording artists have called out social and environmental injustice, shown what’s at stake, and motivated us to action.

The Hip-Hop Caucus needs a huge shout out for leading in the 2014 album, Home to lift up people’s climate music.

This playlist of Black songs for the environment is by no means complete; we would appreciate your ideas and contributions. 

All of these songs are featured in more detail on our searchable Earth Song list.

To hear some of these songs, please see our Spotify Playlist, “Environmental Songs by Black Artists.”

Black recording artists with environmental songs

Lillian Allen, from album “Nothing but a Hero” (1991)

  • Mother Earth
  • I Dream A Redwood
  • No Good News
  • I and Africa

Cassius (featuring Pharrell Williams)

  • Eye Water, from album “15 Again Deluxe Edition” (2006)

Tracy Chapman

  • Mountains O’ Things, from album, ” Tracy Chapman” (1988)
  • Short Supply, from album, “Matters of the Heart (1992)
  • The Rape of the World, and other songs, from “New Beginning” (1995)

Des’ree, from album “I Ain’t Moving” (1994)

  • Herald the Day
  • You Gotta Be
  • Crazy Maze

Bo Diddley

  • Pollution, from “Another Dimension” (1971)

Dr. Thomas Rashad Easely – Hip-Hop Forester & Educator

Marvin Gay

  • Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology), from album “What’s Goin On” (1971)

Ben Harper

  • Excuse Me Mr., from “Fight for your Mind” (1995 )
  • People Lead, from “Fight for your Mind” (1995 )
  • Black Beauty (from Black Boys) (2021)

Kim and Reggie Harris with Magpie

  • Sarowiwa, from album “Guide My Feet” (1997)

Isaac Hayes

  • Fragile (Sting cover), from album “Branded” (1994)

Memphis Slim

  • Mother Earth, from album “At the Gate of Horn” (1992)

Michael Jackson

  • People Make the World Go Round, from album “Ben” (1972)
  • Ben, single version, from album “Ben” (1972)
  • Earth Song, from album “History –Past, Present, Future, Book 1” (1995)
  • Heal the World, from album “Dangerous” (1991)

The Neville Brothers

  • Sacred Ground, from album “Mitakuye Oyasin/All My Relations” (1995)
  • Holy Spirit, from album “Mitakuye Oyasin/All My Relations” (1995)

Keb’ Mo’

  • Victims of Comfort from album “Keb’ Mo'” (1994)
  • Big Yellow Taxi (cover) from album “Big Wide Grin” (2001)
  • Don’t Throw it Away from album “Oklahoma” (2019)

Bob Marley

  • Get up stand up, from album ” Rebel Music” (1986)

Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers

  • Beautiful Mother Nature, from album “Free Like We Want 2 B” (1995)

Mos Def

  • New World Water, from album “Black on Both Sides” (1999)

Pato Banton

  • Mama Nature, from album “Life is a Miracle” (2000)
  • Ocean Warriors, from album “MOM: Music for our Mother Ocean”

Public Enemy

  • Toxic from album “What You Gonna Do When the Grid Goes Down” (2020)
  • What You Gonna Do When the Grid Goes Down, from album “What You Gonna Do When the Grid Goes Down” (2020)
  • Fight the Power, from album” What You Gonna Do When the Grid Goes Down”

Sugaray Rayford

  • Time to Get Movin, from album “Somebody Save Me” (2019)

Steel Pulse

  • Earth Crisis, from album “Earth Crisis” (1994)
  • No Satan Side, from album “Mass Manipulation” ( 2019)
  • Mass Manipulation, from album “Mass Manipulation” ( 2019)

Koko Taylor

  • Mother Nature, from the album “Force of Nature” (1992)

Temptations

  • Don’t the Joneses Get You Down, from album “Puzzle People” (1968)
  • War, from the album “Psychedelic Shack” (1969)

Josh White Jr.

  • Poison Rain, from album “Anthology (2014)
  • Gentle Warrior, from album “Songs for the Earth: A Tribute to Rachel Carson” (2005)

Will.i.am

  • S.O.S. (Mother Nature), from album “Songs about Girls” (2007)
    note: climate change a key theme

Common, Malik Yusef, Kumasi ft. Aaron Fresh, Choklate, Laci Kay

  • Trouble In The Water, from the album Album HOME (Heal our Mother Earth) (2014)