Few have said it better than Stevie Wonder. “Music is a world within itself with a language we all understand. With an equal opportunity for all to sing, dance and clap their hands.” Regardless of age, race, gender, ability or any other factor, music doesn’t discriminate. It’s an essential form of individual, creative and political expression.
Music is a beautiful form of individual expression that allows people to share their feelings, stories and thoughts through a universal language. Regardless of if they share it with the world or not, everyone has music as a tool. It can connect people all over the world and highlight our shared experiences. Even if you don’t make music yourself, listening or singing along can be cathartic. Not to mention the joy that comes from it.
It’s also a powerful vessel for political expression and protest. Protest music is a song that is associated with a movement for political or social change. It’s a common thread, linking movements throughout history and all over the world. Spanning from “Un violador en tu camino” by the feminist collective LasTesis in Chile as a protest song against femicide and violence against women, to “This is America” by Childish Gambino which confronts systemic racism and the Black American Experience, protest music is a way to spark conversations and provoke change. Even the popular children’s song “Baby Shark” became a protest anthem in Lebanon when protesters sang it to a young child who was overwhelmed by the demonstrations. Keep an eye on our social media and blog for a playlist of IFEP’s favorite protest music.
Even though music is a part of all of us, it's being challenged by oppressive powers. Right now, music is being banned in Afghanistan under Taliban control. There have been several large burnings musical instruments, click here to learn more. However, there are some places making progress, in Hong Kong a judge blocked a government injunction on a protest song, showing the power music holds as a means of free expression and protest.
Music brings comfort, builds connections and motivates people to act. Throughout August, we will be exploring musical free expression, make sure to check out our blog and social media for more information.