In the undertaking of this assignment, the primary objective is focused on providing a detailed discussion regarding how the musicians have used their art form to influence politics. The discussion on how the musicians have used their art to influence politics shall specifically be in reference to the 60’s rock and soul singers during the Vietnam and segregate, NWA rapping about police brutality, and the current pop stars and musicians using the musical platforms in protest of the 2017 administration in the United States.
The 60’s rock and soul singers were famously referred to us belonging to the unforgettable and long musical season of “rock & roll.” The rock & roll both was and continues to be a historic moment in the art of music as the musicians, in this era, specifically championed for liberty and unity of all races not only in America but worldwide. The 60’s was an era in the America States when the nation was severely dominated with the vices of racial discrimination and lack of freedom that were mostly being tailored towards a specific ethnic group. These vices were being perpetrated by the discriminative political policies established by the then administration. Consequently, the situation led to the formation of the culture of viewing some races as being more equal, deserving, and superior than others. In this regard, the 60’s rock and soul singers took to this challenge and used their musical art to try to address these problems that related to discrimination and lack of freedom (http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/bob-dylan-the-beatles-and-the-rock-roll-of-the-60s-19900823).
The most influential rock and soul singers whose voices had an influence on the politics of the day were the “Beatles” (which was a group constituting of four singers namely John Lennon, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, and Paul McCartney), “Bob Dylan,” the “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely hearts Club Band,” and “The Rolling Stones.” All these musical groups excluding Bob Dylan, who was a sole singer, had one thing in common, and, that is, they all championed for political deliberation. The deliberation was chiefly aiming at ensuring that all the races in America are treated with dignity and respect and that every individual, regardless of his or her ethnic affiliation, is accorded all the rights and freedom from that of speech, life, work, to movement (http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/bob-dylan-the-beatles-and-the-rock-roll-of-the-60s-19900823).
The 60’s was a defining moment in the American history concerning the change in the political wave. Most important to note is that the 60’s rock and soul singers performed a crucial role through their musical art in directing the American political course to the modern governance system that shuns discrimination and cherishes freedom for all mankind and protects democracy. The singers composed and sang songs that highlighted the existing problems in society and informed the public on how such issues can be brought into solutions if only there was good governance in place that had the willingness and commitment of using their political stature to address them. In this context, the singers created awareness to the minds of people inspiring them to demand for political justice and a system of ruling that would advocate for equality (http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/bob-dylan-the-beatles-and-the-rock-roll-of-the-60s-19900823). These efforts bore fruits and subsequently leading to the election of the President John. F. Kennedy in 1961, a leader who believed in equality, freedom, and democracy. Though he only ruled until 1963, the 3 years he had in office were important as he created upheaval to the American political system. He establishing an administration that puts the citizens’ interests as the first priority, a system of political governance referred to as being “of and for the people.”
The N.W.A., termed as “Niggas with Attitude,” is a rap group from Compton, California, established in 1988 and consisting of five members who are Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren, DJ Yella, and Eazy-E. The influence of the N.W.A. goes beyond Compton but rather to entire population of the U.S. The rap group, in most of their songs and what has resulted in it being referred to as “fuck the police” music group, speaks about the true ordeals that the Black race undergoes due to police brutality. The group claims that police brutality is an inhuman and inappropriate practice being fueled by the evil of racial profiling. The Black people always tend to be considered as being on the wrong side of law being connected with the practice of murder, drug-trafficking, rape and any form of immoral and illegal behaviors even when innocent. When you are a Black man, according to N.W.A., the law of innocence does not hold (Bonnette 15).
It has almost become a norm that any black man or woman, when under the police custody, is always considered to be “guilty until proven innocent” and not the other way round of being innocent unless proven guilty as required by the law. In fact, to the black race, committing a wrong is not the problem. Rather, the painful truth is that the problem itself is being black in the first place. Therefore, any time a black person is under the custody of the police or arrested, then, they are consequently subjected to harsher punishment and physical brutalities just due to the mere fact of belonging to the black race (Bonnette 15). These occurrences of police brutality, and, worse of all, the practice of being selectively applied to the black are vices that the N.W.A. is constantly speaking about in their songs with maximum zeal, hate, dislike.
Owing to the fact that the primary aim why this music rap group was formed was to indeed bring to light the issues of police brutality by speaking about them. The group has been too vocal to be stopped speaking about the police brutality problems that the Blacks are always subjected to and not even the FBI warning and threats could hinder them from pursuing their passion. It is in this passion of speaking about the issues of police brutality in their songs that created a positive political shift in the U.S. regarding how the Blacks are treated with the police officers. Though the problem still exists, but not with the same magnitude as before.
Today, long gone are the days when few white policemen were being used through political directives to mistreat and brutalize the majority of the Black race. All these achievements have been realized through the change in political policies and all thanks are attributed to the N.W.A. through their songs that unveiled most of the suffering that the Blacks were experiencing due to police brutality. Their songs brought enlightenment to the American public (Bonnette 15). It is in this same spirit of enlightenment that the U.S. population made a decision to change the political direction of their country by electing the first black president, Barrack Obama. President Barrack Obama, in his eight-year administration, instituted policies that sought to limit, if not eliminate, the problem of police brutality.
The 2017 administration under President Donald J. Trump has been under both sharp criticism and protest from the pop stars and musicians. The pop stars and musicians are accusing Trump of being a racist and discriminative in his political plans and policies. Since President Trump’s official inauguration as the 45th president of the U.S., seven artists and their respective artistic works and music have come out publicly to protest against his administration. These artists are Pope L., Betty Tompkins, For Freedoms, Postcommodity, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Andrea Bowers, and Snopp Dogg.
All these artists and artistic works are in protest against the current political administration led by Donald Trump. For instance, Pope L., a painting artist based in Chicago, has produced a painting with vivid pictures of persons chained in ropes. The chains tend to depict an era of slavery, torture, inhibition of freedom, and unduly discrimination. The artist work is an indication likening the Trump administration to some of the previous political administrations when persons were discriminated, chained, incarcerated with no due cause, and tortured based on race. Therefore, the message that Pope intends to communicate is that the U.S. might be on his way back to these undesired political times in the current administration (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/20/t-magazine/protest-art-betty-tompkins-postcommodity-rirkrit-tiravanija.html?_r=0). Similarly, Snopp Dogg, his latest song video, “Lavendar” shoots a clown of President Trump in the head. The act indicates the degree of hate or dislike that the musician has towards not only the current administration but also towards President Trump as a person. These current pop stars and musicians protests against President Trump have consequently triggered series of protests by a majority of the U.S. populations. Currently, there are several protests by the anti-Trump citizens who are against the 2017 political administration. In this regard, it is still impossible predict the magnitude and intensity on the extent of how far these protests can go in redefining the current political situation in U.S.