Family Reunion Essentials

Summer's here and the time is right for … family reunions! Officially, as a matter of fact -- or at least it was official in 1985, when Congress declared that the period between Mother's Day and Father's Day would be Family Reunion Month. Despite Congress' declarations, most families seem to agree that reuniting should properly occur in July or August, in the good hot weather of summer. Because when else could all the kids, parents, grandparents, cousins, uncles and aunts meet up in a park and gobble barbecued chicken and corn on the cob and macaroni and/or potato salad and dance the electric slide, right?

Hence this playlist, which demonstrates that for some reason pretty much all the decent family reunion songs per sé have been done by African American artists favored by grown folks: Jill Scott, Chaka Khan, The O'Jays, George Benson, Southern soulsters Ms. Jody and Bigg Robb, Southern gospel group Gumbo Red. As have most other songs that would seem tailor-made for the occasion, from Sister Sledge singing about families to War singing (and Will Smith rapping) about summer to The Intruders and Luther Vandross singing, respectively, about mom and dad.

Though, to be fair, reunion numbers by Paul Simon, The Oak Ridge Boys and Bon Jovi and Jennifer Nettles make sense to include, too. As do "Electric Boogie," "Cupid Shuffle" and "Cha-Cha Slide," of course. You might not remember who sang them, but you need to work off all that high-calorie picnic food somehow!

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