Commentary: Music and Politics

Throughout history, music has played a significant role in shaping political and social movements. Music has the power to inspire, unite, and mobilize people, more so than religion or presidents, and it has been used as a tool for expressing political ideologies, promoting social change, and challenging authority. The relationship between politics and music is complex and multifaceted, involving the interaction between cultural, social, and agenda-driven factors.

One of the most notable examples of the relationship between politics and music is rise of the Protest Music genre of the 1960s in the United States. This era was marked by widespread social and political unrest, including the civil rights movement, the anti-war movement, and the feminist movement. Musicians such as Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and Pete Seeger used their music to express their opposition to the Vietnam War and to advocate for social justice and equality. Their songs, such as Blowin’ in the Wind and We Shall Overcome, became anthems for the civil rights movement and inspired a generation of activists.

Another example of the relationship between politics and music is the role of music in political campaigns. Political candidates have long used music to rally their supporters and convey their message. For example, during the 2008 U.S. presidential election, Barack Obama used the song Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours by Stevie Wonder as his campaign theme song, while John McCain used the song Take a Chance on Me by ABBA. These songs became associated with the respective candidates and were used to create a positive image and energize their supporters.

Music has also been used as a tool for propaganda and censorship by authoritarian regimes. In countries such as China, North Korea, and Iran, music is tightly controlled by the government, and artists are required to follow strict guidelines and produce music that promotes the ruling ideology. In some cases, music that is deemed subversive or critical of the government is banned or censored. For example, in Iran, the government has banned Western-style pop music and has arrested musicians who have produced music that is critical of the regime.

The relationship between politics and music is not always straightforward, and there are often tensions between the two. Some musicians choose to avoid political topics in their music, preferring to focus on personal experiences or universal themes. Others use their music to express their political views but face criticism or backlash from those who disagree with their message. For example, the Dixie Chicks faced a backlash from some of their fans when they criticized President George W. Bush during a concert in 2003.

In recent years, the relationship between politics and music has become more complex due to the rise of social media and streaming platforms. Musicians now have more direct access to their fans and can use social media to express their political views or promote social causes. For example, in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, many musicians have used their social media platforms to express their support and to promote organizations that are working to promote racial justice.

Whether a musician chooses to use their talent to express their views on society or not, it’s their choice and only theirs. However, some musicians, with cult-like followings, might be dangerous for young minds. Parents could NEVER control the music, media, ads their children and teenagers consume. And we all know, that around puberty, it is much easier to vibe to Rihanna tunes and relate to her lyrics than it is to talk to your own mom about your broken heart. Let’s hope that kind musicians with the right moral values are to take the spotlight in the upcoming years as power can be used for good and bad and we are really tired of the latter.

Blue Rhymez Entertainment ©2023

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