Black History - An Exploration of Music As an Expression of Civil Rights

Black History – An Exploration of Music As an Expression of Civil Rights

Music as a form of activism within African American culture is a phenomenon that has no parallel in human history. Never before have an oppressed community been able to speak past their oppressors and to their oppressors’ children. A persecuted culture proved to a world that they could be spiritual, that they could be beautiful, that they could be geniuses, and still that wasn’t enough. For too many, it seems that the only sound that gets a response is the sound of shattering glass.

Taken from a radio show I did for black history month a couple of years ago, this selection considers decades of activism in music from the Black Panther era of the 70s, conscious rap from 90s, up to the Black Lives Matter movement. The selection at times feels joyful and hopeful, making it harder to process how little has changed.

Camille Yarbrough – But It Comes Out Mad
Syl – Johnson – Is It Because I’m Black?
The Whatnauts – Message From a Black Man
Curtis Mayfield – Stare and Stare
Aretha Franklin – Young, Gifted, and Black
The Last Poets – When the Revolution Comes
Frankie Cutlass – Puerto Rico/ Black People
Public Enemy – Brother’s Gonna Work It Out (Remix)
Boogie Down Productions – The Racist
Big Daddy Kane feat. Gamilah Shabazz (Malcolm X’s Daughter) – Who Am I?
Brand Nubian – Allah & Justice
De La Soul – I Am I Be
Arrested Development – Raining Revolution
Erykah Badu – The Healer
Jamila Woods feat NoName – VRY BLK
Mick Jenkins feat. BADBADNOTGOOD – Drowning (I Can’t Breathe)
Blood Orange – JUNE 12TH (For Sandra Bland)
Saul Williams – Sha Clack Clack
Houz Mon – Intro: King 28 Years Later
Bama the Village Poet – Blackman My Brother
Rahsaan Roland Kirk – Blacknuss
Sam Dees – Heritage of a Black Man
Gil Scott-Heron – Whitey On the Moon
Dr. Mary Sullivan Bain – Do You Know Black History?
Trinikas – Black is Beautiful
YG & Nipsey Hussle – Fuck Donald Trump

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