Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Resistance Music

In the American system of slavery, African Americans had many ways to resist the dehumanizing conditions that existed. The songs they sang (known today as Negro Spirituals) had a purpose: they were sung to express their grief, petition to their God, and soothe the pain of bondage. Most of the songs were made up from stories they heard in the Bible, but they all seem had the same underlining plea – Freedom.

Here is an example:

Didn’t my Lord deliver Daniel?
Deliver Daniel, deliver Daniel
Didn’t my Lord deliver Daniel?
They why not every man?

He delivered Daniel from the lion’s den,
Jonah from the belly of a whale,
The Hebrew children from the fiery furnace,
Then why not every man?

Well, the ancestors were eventually released from bondage and entered into the American Aparthied system of Jim Crow. In these modern times, African Americans have marched, staged sit-ins, and fought up to the very moment Barack Obama was sworn in as president of the United States. So, what are we resisting today? What is the new resistance? What has the majority of us in bondage (mental or physical)? What do our resistance songs sound like? In the 60s and 70s we had resistance music: Sam Cooke sang that A Change [was] Gonna Come; James Brown screamed, Say it Loud, I'm Black and I'm proud; and in 1989 a group of Hip Hop artist like Chuck D, KRS One, and MC Lyte came together to protest Black on Black crime with their hit, Self Destruction. Honorable mention: All of Bob Marley's music. Can you think of any resistance songs of today? Is is all "Underground?" Help us out:
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