Songs For Freedom

Songs For Freedom

The most powerful soundtracks of the movements created to heal and motivate the world

The most powerful soundtracks of the movements created to heal and motivate the world

Text: AMIRA RASOOL

Legendary musician and civil rights activist Nina Simone once stated, “an artist's duty, as far as I'm concerned, is to reflect the times...at this crucial time in our lives, when everything is so desperate, when everyday is a matter of survival, I don’t think you can help but be involved.”

More than 50 years later, Simone’s sentiments have inspired generations of artists to assume further responsibility in creating cogent music for the purpose of healing the abused and motivating the downtrodden. In terms of music reflective of today’s global Black community, the most recent police killings of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and countless other innocent Black men, have made the necessity for politically charged or “protest music” refreshingly potent.

Over the pass several decades, hip-hop music has dominated the soundtrack of contemporary Black liberation movements, accompanying the soulful ballads of artists such as Sam Cooke and Donnie Hathaway on the front lines of protests and rallies. As a country still ripe with issues of police brutality, mass-incarceration, work and educational based prejudices, and economic inequality, Black liberation music has helped created historical markers that outlines the long patterns of injustices. Black liberation music lends a voice to a community whose cries for justice are often ignored, painting a musical portrait of collective strife, yet simultaneously unwavering hope.

This compilation of powerful Black liberation songs is designed as an archival source that illuminates the repetitive nature of many of the issues Black people battle not only in America, but across the Black diaspora. These sounds of liberation will help heal the hearts of those mourning the victims of police brutality, while motivating the masses to aid in the fight for collective change.

UP NEXT

Staff Picks: Couture Fall 2016