Photo by Terri Givens at an exhibit at the Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC

Let’s have some fun…


Time for a mid-winter break — help me pick my “walk-up” music!

I grabbed this image as I was going through my photos this evening — it got me thinking about our current moment. I type on a laptop that has more computing power than anything I could have imagined growing up and I actually have a two-way radio (i.e. Apple Watch) that does way more than Dick Tracy could have ever imagined!

Photo Illustration, PLStamps/Alamy

Yes, we live in an amazing present, but we also live in a very dangerous time and the weight of what is going on in the world can be a bit much. Then there’s the personal disappointments.

This has not been the winter I expected — the holidays, including my hubby’s 60th birthday party, were dampened by the surge in COVID (but we still had a good time at the party). I got new skis and haven’t been able to use them yet because there either hasn’t been snow (in California and British Columbia), or the snow isn’t great because it’s too warm and right now it’s melting near Montreal (darn you El Niño!). Might be able to get some time on the slopes next weekend, but in the meantime, I’ve been having some fun with music.

I have a lot of songs that I love, but I was giving a talk last week and I was wondering what music I could use as my “walk up” music — or music to play while folks are joining a zoom. I know I’m way behind on this, most folks were doing this during COVID lockdowns, with zoom meetings and classes. Anyway, I thought it would be fun to try out a few songs…and we’ll start with one of my favorites “oldies” (it’s painful for me to admit that the songs from my youth are now the ones being played in grocery stores).

The first candidate is “Brick House” by the Commodores. I love to dance to this song, but it might not be the best song for a professional event…

Photo by Terri Givens at a Lionel Richie concert in Montreal

Another candidate is the song “Confident” by Demi Lovato. This one, particularly with the video that goes with it, might also be problematic for a professional event…

And of course, this list would not be complete without some Beyoncé:

This song gets overplayed, but I’ve been a fan of Sara Bareilles since her first album:

We must have a song from the QUEEN!

This song has so many meanings…I’ve always loved it:

Love the video for this one — Nina Simone is amazing:

Talk about expectations India!

If we’re going to talk about hair, let’s add Solange’s ode to our crowns:

Let’s add some Chaka Khan to the mix:

I love Pink, and this one I often sing at the top of my lungs during my neighborhood walks ;-)

And finally, I love the groove in this song by Jon Batiste:

What’s your pick? Leave a message in the comments!



Terri E. Givens -

Professor of Political Science, McGill University. Higher Ed Leadership, Immigration & European politics. Author of Radical Empathy & The Roots of Racism