I’ve gathered the best songs about respect that promote positivity and uplift marginalized voices.
This powerful playlist features anthems calling for equality, justice, and human dignity across race, gender, and creed.
Top picks of the best songs about respect
- Aretha Franklin – “Respect”
- Marvin Gaye – “I’m Gonna Give You Respect”
- Notorious B.I.G. – “Respect”
- Erasure – “A Little Respect”
- Ani DiFranco – “Amendment”
- Pink – “Respect”
- Christina Aguilera – “Can’t Hold Us Down”
- B.B. King – “Respect Yourself”
- The Rolling Stones – “Respectable”
- Sting – “Show Some Respect”
30 Songs About Respect
1. Aretha Franklin – “Respect”
Do you think that Aretha Franklin’s hit is the most iconic song about respect?
We certainly think so.
Rolling Stone magazine probably agrees too; they proclaimed “Respect” the greatest song of all time.
But you might be surprised to hear that the song was originally written and recorded by Otis Redding.
However, it eventually became Queen of soul’s signature song and a women empowerment anthem of the late 60s.
“What you want, baby, I got it
What you need, do you know I got it?”
2. Marvin Gaye – “I’m Gonna Give You Respect”
Marvin Gaye’s 1973 track is another soulful song with respect in the lyrics.
Although it’s not as popular as some of his other hits, “I’m Gonna Give You Respect” has its own charm.
And we sincerely hope Marvin didn’t respect his woman just because he was afraid to lose her.
“You got what I need baby (don’t wanna lose you)
I don’t wanna lose you (don’t wanna, don’t wanna, don’t wanna lose you)
Oh, so I’m gon’ give you respect (respect) and I want to protect (protect)
3. Notorious B.I.G. – “Respect”
If you’re searching for hip-hop and rap songs about respect, this is your jam.
Notorious B.I.G. was a real talent, and his 1994 track “Respect” is evidence of that.
The song combines elements of different genres, and it’s powerful and catchy.
4. Erasure – “A Little Respect”
This is one of the songs about respect that will bring you a pure 80s vibe.
Besides “Chains of Love”, “A Little Respect” was Erasure’s biggest hit.
It was their second consecutive top 20 hit on the US Billboard Hot 100.
“I try to discover
A little something to make me sweeter
Oh baby refrain from breaking my heart
I’m so in love with you.”
5. Ani DiFranco – “Amendment”
Ani DiFranco’s “Amendment” is lyrically one of the best songs about respect for others.
More precisely, it’s a song about civil rights for women.
DiFranco mentions abortion, diversity, tolerance, and equality. She is one of the few singers who speaks about it so directly.
“Wouldn’t it be nice if
We had an amendment
To give civil rights to
To once and for all just
Really lay it down from
A point of view of
6. Pink – “Respect”
When it comes to songs with respect in the title, do you know about Pink’s catchy tune from 2001?
Well, Pink’s “Respect” shouldn’t be forgotten. It’s an upbeat song about respect for women that feels rather empowering.
“Pick up lines like “What’s your sign” won’t get
When me and all my girls go walking down the street
It seems we can’t go anywhere without a car that
7. Christina Aguilera – “Can’t Hold Us Down”
Another pop gem that deals with the treatment of women is “Can’t Hold Us Down.”
So, if you’re searching for so-called songs about treating a woman right, check out the lyrics of this tune first.
They will probably tell you what you already know, but even after twenty years of its release, this song still makes an important point.
“So what am I not supposed to have an opinion
Should I keep quiet just because I’m a women
Call me a bitch cause I speak what’s on my mind
Guess it’s easier for you to swallow if I sat and smiled.”
8. B.B. King – “Respect Yourself”
“If you disrespect everybody that you’d run into
How in the world do you think anybody suppose to respect you?”
B.B. King knew the importance of self-respect.
However, “Respect Yourself” was released by The Staple Singers in 1971.
Nevertheless, there are several ways of showing yourself respect: try to be honest about who you are, surround yourself with kind people, and learn to say no.
It’s not always easy, but even deciding to do it is a start.
9. The Rolling Stones – “Respectable”
The Rolling Stones’ “Respectable” is a fast-paced rock track with interesting (or questionable?) lyrics.
Jagger said: “The lyric carries no fantastically deep message, but I think it might have had something to do with Bianca.”
We’ll have to trust him then!
“Well now you’re a pillar of society
You don’t worry about the things that you used to be
You’re a rag-trade girl, you’re the queen of porn
You’re the easiest lay on the White House lawn.”
10. Sting – “Show Some Respect”
Sting released “Show Some Respect” in 2013 on his studio album “The Last Ship.”
It’s not one of his most successful songs, but it’s a lively, quirky tune with lyrics that will give you something to think about.
“Show some respect, fill the deck, get the lassies twirling,
‘Cos they expect to be swept off their feet and whirling,
Life is a dance, a romance where ye take your chances,
Just don’t be left on the shores of regretful glances.”
11. Radiohead – “I Promise”
In a way, being faithful and respectful to someone is a promise.
And Radiohead’s sentimental 2017 track captures that feeling perfectly.
“I won’t run away no more, I promise
Even when I get bored, I promise
Even when you lock me out, I promise
I say my prayers every night, I promise.”
12. Nelly Furtado – “Promiscuous”
Nelly Furtado’s “Promiscuous” is also one of the songs with respect in the lyrics.
This song was a big hit in the early 2000s.
It’s direct, flirtatious, and captivating. And it somehow still sounds fresh.
“You might be the type if I play my cards right
I’ll find out by the end of the night
You expect me to just let you hit it?
But will you still respect me if you get it?”
13. Lady Gaga – “Born This Way”
One of Lady Gaga’s most memorable songs is certainly “Born This Way.”
She described it as her freedom song.
In essence, it’s a song about respect, tolerance, and accepting differences.
And accepting someone as who they are is an ultimate sign of respect.
“Don’t be a drag, just be a queen
Whether you’re broke or evergreen
You’re Black, white, beige, chola descent
You’re Lebanese, you’re Orient’.”
14. Beverley Knight – “100%”
For many people, the word respect is associated with commitment.
And Beverley Knight’s “100%” is one of the good songs about commitment and all it represents.
“Others in my past have tried for commitment
But they always found themselves denied
Love and I were incompatible
But now what you’ve done to me is magical.”
15. Beyoncé – “Sorry”
Beyoncé’s music can be a great inspiration for practicing self-respect.
And with her song “Sorry”, she masterfully turned her personal experiences into a song.
It’s a powerful song about commitment, strength, and courage to stand up for yourself.
“Middle fingers up, put them hands high
Wave it in his face, tell him, boy, bye
Tell him, boy, bye, middle fingers up
I ain’t thinking ’bout you.”
16. Kendrick Lamar and Rihanna – “Loyalty”
One of the ways to show respect to someone is by being loyal.
Whether we talk about friendship or a romantic relationship, loyalty is essential.
And Kendrick Lamar’s and Rihanna’s Grammy-winning hit tackles some good questions about respect, loyalty, and honesty.
“Tell me who you loyal to
Is it love for the streets when the lights get dark?
Is it unconditional when the ‘Rari don’t start?
Tell me when your loyalty is comin’ from the heart.”
17. Nneka and Ziggy Marley – “Express Yourself”
“You’ve got to express yourself
No matter what they do to you
You’ve got to express yourself
No matter where they take you to.”
As we mentioned earlier, speaking your mind is an important element of self-respect.
And in their song “Express Yourself”, Nneka and Ziggy Marley are emphasizing the importance of that.
18. Bobby Wills – “Show Some Respect”
And if you’re looking for country songs about respect, look no further than Bobby Wills’ 2012 tune.
Is he singing about his guitar? Is he singing about his old truck?
Don’t ask us.
“So remember all the rest
That wore that number on your chest
And show some respect.”
19. Bruno Mars – “Count On Me”
In his sweet tune released in 2015, Bruno Mars is showing respect to someone by saying they can count on him.
So, “Count On Me” could easily be described as one of the songs about respect and kindness.
“If you ever find yourself stuck in the middle of the sea
I’ll sail the world to find you
If you ever find yourself lost in the dark and you can’t see
I’ll be the light to guide you.”
20. Janelle Monáe and Erykah Badu – “Q.U.E.E.N.”
Janelle Monáe’s catchy R&B tune “Q.U.E.E.N.” is a song about self-respect, tolerance, and diversity.
It will undoubtedly make you feel confident and empowered.
On the other hand, it will remind you that we still have a lot to do until we reach an equal and open-minded society.
“Are we a lost generation of our people?
Add us to equations but they’ll never make us equal
She who writes the movie owns the script and the sequel
So why ain’t the stealing of my rights made illegal?”
21. LION BABE – “Wonder Woman”
This is another catchy song that deals with respect for women.
It’s an ode to femininity and women’s strength.
“They can’t catch me (watch out, watch out)
‘Cause I’m too strong
They all want what I got
Never leaving me alone.”
22. The Lox, DMX, and Lil’ Kim – “Money, Power & Respect”
When it comes to respect rap songs, “Money, Power & Respect” is a classic.
What do you value the most: money, power, or respect?
“What’s the key to life?
Money, power, and respect
What you need in life?
Money, power, and respect.”
23. Miguel – “Sure Thing”
Miguel’s “Sure Thing” is a song with respect in the lyrics, but it’s also a genuine expression of love and devotion.
After all, you can’t have love without respect.
“Love you like a brother
Treat you like a friend
Respect you like a lover.”
24. Alliance Ethnik – “Respect”
Without a doubt, this is one of the funkiest hip-hop songs with respect we know.
And the message of the French duo is clear:
“Respect yourself, respect the funk, respect the ladies.”
25. Robyn – “Do You Really Want Me (Show Respect)”
In “Do You Really Want Me (Show Respect)”, Robyn sings about all the things a man should do for someone he cares about.
So, in a nutshell, it’s one of the songs about treating a woman right.
It’s a part of Robyn’s debut album, so it sounds very cheerful and sort of innocent (compared to some of her later tunes.)
“It’s those little things that mean so much
You gotta treat her right
Or get out of her sight.”
26. Pharrell Williams – “Freedom”
Pharrell Williams’ 2015 catchy hit is, of course, a song about freedom.
But it could also be seen as a song about respecting others.
Empathy and respect are important parts of moving towards a free world.
And Pharrell dedicated “Freedom” to migrants. “We have to be open. And it’s a tough conversation, but America is built on immigrants. We wouldn’t have a country without them.”, he said in one of the interviews.
“Man’s red flower
It’s in every living thing
Mind, use your power
Spirit, use your wings
27. En Vogue – “Free Your Mind”
This is also one of the popular songs about freedom and respect.
In fact, “Free Your Mind” is an anthem of tolerance, and it fights against all prejudicial opinions.
And it does that in a very cool way.
“I wear tight clothing, high heeled shoes
It doesn’t mean that I’m a prostitute no, no!
I like rap music, wear hip-hop clothes
That doesn’t mean that I’m out sellin’ dope no, no, no!”
28. Stevie Wonder – “Respect”
We know we started this playlist with this song.
But Stevie Wonder’s cover version sounds fantastic as well, and it would be wrong not to include it.
“Hey, a little respect darling
What I want, yeah, I really need it now.”
29. Bob Marley – “One Love”
Bob Marley had a vision of a world where everyone respects each other.
He was the advocate of peace, unity, and freedom.
And he will always be someone we can all learn from.
“Let them all pass all their dirty remarks (one love)
There is one question I’d really love to ask (one heart)
Is there a place for the hopeless sinner
Who has hurt all mankind just to save his own?”
30. John Lennon – “Imagine”
John Lennon also had a vision of a different world. A better world.
And “Imagine” is arguably one of the most iconic songs of all time.
It’s a hymn for peace, love, and respect.
“You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one.”
Just like songs about freedom, songs about respect are very important.
They can remind people to treat each other better. And they can tell you that you need to respect yourself too.
In the end, if you respect yourself and others, you’ll most likely be treated the same way.
And by receiving respect, you can feel more confident, safe, and free to express yourself!