During the 1950’s and 1960’s, there was the need and desire for social justice, so that African Americans could gain equal rights under the law in the United States. The Civil Rights Movement defeated the injustice of public facilities being segregated by “race” in the South. Two women who advocated for black justice during the Civil Rights Movement through the use of music are Nina Simone and Billie Holiday. Simone is an American singer who sang a mix of blues, jazz, and folk music. She was known for songs like “ Young, Gifted and Black,” “ Four Woman,” and “ Mississippi Goddam.” Holiday is considered one of the most influential jazz vocalists of all time.
This understanding erases Simone's vital contribution, the full depth of her contribution to secular music consciousness, her role in orienting black and white audiences alike to the liberation struggles of the civil-rights movement." Simone would follow her strand of impassioned activism, becoming a key performer at the Selma to Montgomery March of 1965 performing “Mississippi Goddam” before tens of thousands of marchers in Selma on a stage propped up by coffins to represent the bloodshed. Simone engaged in an aggressive, yet empowering dialogue which encouraged militant action and promoted views akin to those of the Black Panther especially in the interest of forming a separate state, in contrast to the language and approach of Martin Luther King. Being black and also a woman she faced a variety of very common yet under-approached issues. Despite the presence of heroes such as Rosa Parks, the Civil Rights Movement to some degree excluded women and more unfortunately, the Feminist Movement excluded women of colour.
The 1960s was a tumultuous decade for the United States. Along with the escalation of the Vietnam War, this decade was rocked by the Civil Rights movement and the second wave of the Feminist movements, creating an immense amount of social tension. As a result, people turned to politically-charged music, predominantly Rock n’ Roll, to release their frustrations. However, an equally important musical genre, Soul, was left in the background. Despite the fact that Soul music was not as popular in the United States, artists such as Aretha Franklin released many politically-charged songs that advocated for social justice.
Both verses speak about this, repeating the words “trying to find” referring to the constant search for belonging and a place to fit in. The chorus, however, encourages people to be free with themselves, using the repetition of, “at least I am free.” The music video of the song flashes between a young boy, who is bullied and is looking for inspiration, and a man who the viewers come to realise is the future form of the boy. The boy finds a man who has a pet bird and finds joy in watching his bird fly and be free, alone in the sky. The video then flashes forward to the boy (now a man) finding the same freedom by jumping off of a mountain top and gliding through a valley. This video fits the message of the song, particularly the chorus saying, “at least I am
Jackie Robinson inspired many others to uplift them self above societal standards. Prior to Robinson’s success, no African American athlete had received similar praise from white America. “Jackie Robinson changed the way of how many white Americans thought about minorities because he was the first acknowledged black player to perform in the Major Leagues.” (Swaine 1) Jackie Robinson changed the way of how many white Americans viewed African Americans because he was the first acknowledged African American baseball player to succeed in the major leagues. Robinson showed the white Americans that they were not superior to his race and that they couldn 't keep him or people alike oppressed. Jackie Robinson challenged white America’s societal perception of African American at the time.
As previously mentioned, the track "Strange Fruit" performed by Nina Simone appears at various stages throughout the song. The two tracks are completely opposite in terms of texture. The sample of "Strange Fruit" is a single voice accompanied by a piano which can be described as a homophonic texture as there is a support system for the voice. West creates a rich intense atmosphere within the song using many instruments and different melodies and accompaniment which in turn produce a polyphonic texture as there are many ideas, melodies taking place within the song. West alternates between the two textures beginning with the homophonic sample of "Strange Fruit" then gradually adding more instruments together and then mixes the two songs together to create a fierce sound captivating his audience and holding their attention.
As it is common for protest songs, there are several versions of the lyrics, but the main message remains in the idea that America is the land of the people, and that they should take back the land that, as Woody Guthrie says, was “made for you and me”. The song is also important because it signifies the slight and controversial relationship that the Civil Rights Movement shared with communism. As Myles Horton recalls in Everybody Says Freedom, a book written by Pete Seeger and Bob Raiser, “anytime anyone ever helped black people, the politicians would scream ‘Communists’- so as far as local people were concerned, ‘Communist was a name for people who would help them” (6). He was the founder of the Highlander Folk School, an institutions that created workshops for unions in Knoxville, Tennessee and helped set up schools for black communities in the South, as well as create the SNCC and the
His song “A Change is Going to Come,” became a movement anthem when he wrote it in response to being arrested for attempting to stay in a “whites only” hotel (The Role Of Music). Cooke became a large part of the movement and became an idol to others who wanted to make a change in the Civil Rights movement. Bob Dylan was born Robert Allen Zimmerman on May 24, 1941 in Duluth, Minnesota (Bob Dylan Biography). At a young age, Dylan showed an interest in music and was influenced by old rock stars such as Elvis Presley. Bob wrote many folk hit songs throughout the beginning of his career, but the first album that determined his stance in the sixties protest movement was “The Times Are A-Changin’” (Bob Dylan
It has the power to inspire great revolutions, to be the catalyst to social and political change and to ignite the spark of social consciousness even within those who live apolitically. Billie Holiday is an artist whose work had the capacity of not only reflecting cultural and social developments of her time and exploring the themes of social injustice and racism, but of sparking a new level of social consciousness within society with her performance of the song ‘Strange Fruit’, which
To Pimp a Butterfly To Pimp a Butterfly was a huge cultural moment during the height of the black lives matter movement. The album depicts how the rhythm and the songs highlights and emphasizes the meaning and importance of the what each represents. This album has become known as the Black Lives Matter Movement in the form of music and emotions. The rhythm language shows social engagement and importance as it explicitly and implicitly describes stories and lives that have been affected. It also shows how people are affected by sec and money between gender politics.