First came the field hollers and rhythms of forced labor from peoples stolen from Africa - trafficked and enslaved in the Americas. Racism, abuse, exploitation - and the heartbreak of lives and futures lost - gave birth to ‘negro spirituals,’ hymns and the blues. The musical evolution included gospel, ragtime, jazz, R&B, soul, country . . . and of course rock ‘n’ roll. Later progressions fostered funk, reggae, rap, hip hop and dance/eletronica. Much of the music that now moves us - emotionally and physically - has its roots in the rebellion against slaveholders’ shackles.
Since then, protests have often risen up in verse and chorus. Whether the folk songs of the ‘60’s, the revolutionary songs of the counter-culture of the 70’s and 80’s, or the highly-politicized tunes of today, America and the world has a long history of matching music and message. Music is often used to make people aware of injustices around them . . . and to challenge them to be part of the solution.
In film or on stage, many artists have been elevated into activists against local ills and global pandemics. Bob Geldof, Bono, and numerous others are now accepted on the world stage as spokespersons for complex and worthy causes. Other musicians start foundations and movements to mobilize huge numbers of people. Many simply use their gift to raise awareness and involvement amongst their fan base.
Over the years we’ve seen music used as an instrumental piece in the rehabilitation of trafficking/slavery survivors. Whether it’s learning to play an instrument, or immersing in melodies that bring consolation and the self-acknowledgement of freedom, music is incorporated into many effective aftercare programs for children and young adults who previously had nothing to sing about.
BORN OUT OF SLAVERY, WITH A HISTORY OF PROTEST, ARTIST ACTIVISM AND SURVIVOR HEALING. . .
. . . MUSIC CAN INDEED BREAK THE BONDS, MAKE SUIRVIVORS WHOLE, AND CHANGE THE WORLD
TIME TO JAM UP THE TRAFFIC!