Weekly Playlist: Songs of Protest, Pain & Calls for Change | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Sunday, July 5th, 2020  

Weekly Playlist: Songs of Protest, Pain & Calls for Change

An Incomplete Representation of the Music of Injustice ft. Nina Simone, Odetta, Bob Marley & The Wailers, KRS One, Rage Against The Machine, Public Enemy, The Impressions, The Freedom Singers, Bob Dylan, Billie Holiday, Curtis Mayfield & More

Jun 03, 2020
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In these times, confrontation with disturbing patterns are inescapable – patterns in the world in which we live and share, and in turn, within ourselves. These patterns are so deeply rooted, having existed for so long, that they seem immovable. The process of change appears daunting. But as trite as it sounds, every process must begin with a step. Even if the desired destination is so distant as to seem unreachable and the step taken so small, it’s one movement in that direction. Hopefully, it will be followed by another.

In ordinary circumstances, it’s easy to fall into self-serving routine, ignoring the patterns that demand attention. Many people, like myself, just try to get through the day without discomfort. It goes without saying that these are not ordinary circumstances and my conscience, though unexercised, won’t allow me to turn away from the discomfort that only grows deeper without action.

I am guilty of selfishness and ignorance and particularly the events of the last six years, coming to a horrifying boil in the last week, have brought shameful realization of just how true this is. I understand that the only way to change that is to seek education. While I feel the discomfort of shame for my past complacency and ignorance, I also see a capacity within myself for change going forward. I think I can affect change for the better, in myself and for those that don’t share in my privilege. I hope I will. The reminders are everywhere and I must be receptive to them, so that I don’t fall back into patterns that perpetuate the status quo.

Some of the reminders come in the form of music. They always have since music is a channel for pain. As the playlist editor for Under the Radar, I have taken this opportunity to educate myself about some of the musicians that have historically used music as a channel to speak out on social, systemic injustice. Some of these artists and songs I already knew of, others I didn’t. I don’t ignore the reality that the black people of America and throughout the world are not the only victims of injustice, prejudice, and disgusting violence, but theirs are the majority of voices I have chosen to represent at this time.

This is, no doubt, a small step, and won’t lead anywhere if not followed by another. Hopefully it can raise awareness for those who listen. I appreciate the opinion that this is a hollow gesture, but I also know the potential it has to lead to different ways of thinking that hopefully spawn positive changes in behavior. I believe in the power of music for such change.

My love and support for all those who are suffering,

Charles



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