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Music of the Black Lives Matter Movement

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Music
Wordcount: 1904 words Published: 8th Feb 2020

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The Black Lives Matter has been from the last decade politicizing famous artist to shake the commercial cobwebs from R & B and hip-hop. The reason for this action is stereotypical views against the blacks. The unfair treatment against the black race has resulted due to the unfair treatment in the American society. Racist acts are done behind the closed door such that the law cannot punish the racial offenders since the actions cannot be proven. The racism mentality has resulted to a big gap in housing, income, health, and nutrition. Since it has been difficult to fight against racial stereotypes using boycotts, musicians have cooperated with social movements to form anthem rallying cries, for instance "Freedom" by Beyoncé, has opened open-ended conversations-starters. Some artist for instance Kendrick Lamar and D' Angelo appeared with ready-made, multidimensional statement albums. Some of smaller artist such as Houston MCZ-Ro as well as some other icons for instance Prince released a song to respond to numerous police brutality occurrences. More political megastars such as Usher and Ariana Grande have joined in spreading the awareness through music. This paper will reflect how generations of musicians are addressing violence, police brutality, media and disillusionment in a way like never before; therefore, the focus will be on "Freedom" by Beyoncé featuring Kendrick Lamar and how the song perpetuates the message on race and ethnicity.

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The song “Freedom” by Beyoncé Ft. Kendrick Lamar powerfully reveals the stereotypes caused by the media throughout the history of America in his rap. The song displays that the African American “freedom” is far from being achieved but it should be granted automatically to people of color and should not be under any circumstances a privilege. As illustrated by the lyrics "Channel 9 news tells me I'm moving backwards/eight blocks left, death is around the corner/seven misleading statement about my persona (Beyoncé — Freedom Lyrics I Genius Lyrics. 2016)" the lyrics talks about how the media is spreading misleading information about the African American people. The media have been on the forefront in encouraging racial prejudices in the society by sending headlights that bears a message of racial stereotypes against the people of color. The lyrics express that the blacks will get their freedom back regardless the medias efforts to spread the headlines of the prejudices against the black society. The lyrics also send the message of people standing on their ground against the bad things they are made to experience. The lyrics connects to "Black folk were not visible in mainstream films/media and if they were subservient slaves or servants (Acosta, 2015)." It relates to how the media uses its power to spread bad and negative headlights against the African American society. The media is so quick cover negative news rather than the positive hence spreading the racial stereotypes to the rest of the people. This comes as a result of whiteness in the society whereby the blacks are perceived as inferior as compared to the whites; moreover, the song perpetuates the issue of racial injustices in the society by showing how the African Americans are demeaned by the society and the role media has played in it.

Looking at the visuals of the song “Freedom” by Beyoncé Ft. Kendrick Lamar portrays images of African Americans being victims of police brutality. The song features Winnie Harlow, a model as well as other blacks, white elements together with various celebrities; it sends out a clear message of the people of color being angry and tired of the racism. People, who featured in the video wore don historical, traditional black-American hairstyles and antebellum outfits. (Beyoncé — Freedom Lyrics Genius Lyrics. 2016). Lyrics by Kendrick "Mama don't cry for me, ride for me try for me, live for me"(“Freedom” Beyoncé Ft. Kendrick Lamar) sounds like he is singing to the mothers being afflicted by the unnecessary violence against the African American society. The theme of lyrics is the typical promises of self-reliance. The video showcases African American mother holding pictures of their sons that were recently killed by the police, among them Michael Brown and Eric Garner produced in the video album. Visuals were well coordinated to bring out the whole message. Kendrick Lamar by talking about “Six headlights wavin’ in my direction” (“Freedom” Beyoncé Ft. Kendrick Lamar) he refers to the six lights of the police car. Kendrick Lamar argues that police brutality has killed many innocent people and has done more damage to the black community than racism or slavery. The women in the video appeared to be taking powerful stances that denote their strength in racial struggles (Miller; 1995). With the help of drums played throughout the music, creating sound fraught cultural moment in the United States, the video brings out the message of empowerment for people are free from racial ethnicity. In spreading the message of race in the society, the song encourages the African American society that they will fight together against the oppression and the mistreatment. Considering the struggles experienced by the African American society, the artists use their values and emotions to shed light to the struggles of the blacks. Stated in New York times article, “But too many times, officers saw young black and brown men as targets. They would respond with force to even minor offenses. And because cops are rarely held accountable for their actions, they didn’t think too hard about the consequences.” (Being a cop showed me just how racist and violent the police are). Their aggressiveness towards the blacks comes unconsciously. Police brutality main cause probably is the stereotypes against the blacks that they possess a kind of threat to the police. The chances of gun violence from a black suspect being detained is more than any other.

The song "Freedom" By Beyoncé Ft. Kendrick Lamar highlights issues of Black Lives Movement. Part of the lyrics in the chorus " Freedom! Freedom! I can't move Freedom, cut me loose! (Beyoncé — Freedom Lyrics I Genius Lyrics. 2016)". The song lyrics represent the indication of the African slave hymns, reflecting the embodiment of how the blacks are entitled to their feelings; the physical freedom that they yearn to get. Beyoncé in the song wants people to view the murder stopped and people start living in peace. The song stresses more on the BLM movement as it uses effective and informative language and shows strong meaning towards the issue of freedom. There has been unfairness whereby the people of color have wrongly convicted. This issue has existed for long due to prejudices against the Black Americans whereby their presence is perceived as an intention of engaging in criminal activity (Sen, 1998). The message in the song is 'we will overcome’ and be free from social ill like racism and oppression. Beyoncé in the song calls for solidarity and perseverance while doing so, she presents herself as a leader of the cause. " I see pattern running through the matrix of white privilege, a pattern passed on to me as a white person (McIntosh, 2016)." For many decades there has been African American's historical subjugation by racial menaces passed through white privilege. The issue has led negative perception of the blacks as the lesser being not of the whites equal, hence, leading to numerous unfair treatments against the African American society.

The song "Freedom" by Beyoncé efficiently reveals the message on skin color. To achieve the goal, the artists make the song as an empowerment anthem to encourage black women. The artists utilized positive deviance by creating awareness of the issue as well as putting attention in the direction of the oppressed as they used their inspiring lyrics to boost confidence for the people suffering injustices; furthermore, the lyrics speak about the African American society that has been oppressed. To pass the message efficiently, the song utilizes powerful drums, a fiery tempo organ to get the attention of the listeners. The song is victorious for various reasons, but it takes a strong stance, to encourage actions as well as claiming prompt of people to take change of their future as incredibly powerful. Mcintosh claims "my skin color uses an asset for any move."(McIntosh) According to this statement, the injustice and racism are based on the color of the skin. The racism dates from the slavery error in America and has for long affected the lives of the African American. Due to this prolonged mistreatment against the blacks there is a great need for movements to raise and fight the racial injustices. When considering the “I began to count the ways in which I enjoy unearned skin privilege and have been conditioned into oblivion about its existence”, (McIntosh, 2016) African American struggles would continue to take place because of the white privilege in the society from the young age whites are taught whites’ privilege.

The song "Freedom" by Beyoncé Ft. Kendrick played a major role in perpetuating current stereotypes concerning race and ethnicity. Throughout the lyrics, a message that rebukes police

Nin brutality is characterized within the song (Beyoncé — Freedom Lyrics Genius Lyrics. 2016). The lyrics act as protest anthem. The political overtones are also characterized within the song targeting the mothers whose children have been murdered as the result of police brutality towards the African American people. The lyrics by Kendrick seem to be directed towards the mothers as he encourages them to take heart, and they could overcome racial sentiments as well as the injustices by the police. With the featuring of the parents of Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner in the video, Beyoncé succeeded in passing the message of condemning racial Injustices against the African American society. The way the song "Freedom" deals with issue or racial injustices targeted against the African American society. The song shows how music can play a major role in fighting against racism. The anti-racist demonstration of the song "Freedom" shows how the musicians involved in the song raises awareness about the current day events and address the issues of racism.

Works Cited

  • Beyoncé — FREEDOM Lyrics I Genius Lyrics. 2016, genius.com/Beyoncé -freedom-lyrics. . Millet Nicholas. African American Mens Perceptions of Racial Discrimination: A Sociocultural Analysis." Social Work Research, 1995, doi:10.1093/19.4.207
  • Sen, Sankar. "Police Brutality in Perspective." The Police Journal: Theory, Practice and Principles, vol. 71, no. 2, 1998, pp. 148-150., doi: 10.117'7/00322580807100208.
  • McIntosh. Peggy. "'White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack' and 'Some Notes for Facilitators.'" National SEED Project - Homepage, 2016, national seed project org/white - privilege-unpacking-the-invisible-knapsack.
  • Acosta, Grisel Y. "'Racism Begins in Our Imagination:" How the Overwhelming Whiteness
  • `Boyhood' Feeds Dan..." Salon, Salon.com, 21 Feb. 2015, www.salon.com201502 /22/


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