What started in the UK has now grown into a global movement with participants and teams in the US, Brazil, Holland, Germany, Austria, and Belgium. The people behind the newly founded Black Music Movement decided they needed to use their voices as artists and respond to the brutality too often shown at peaceful protests.
“Whilst we are involved in protests, we have also set up community projects, we support artists to create material, we are working with schools & prisons and we are preparing a tour. We bring music to protests, but also bring protests to music, we use our art to educate and to strengthen and uplift communities, and we also aim to inspire and slowly change culture itself.”
Shouts spoke with organisers Juke and Phoenix who told me that while completing the process of becoming a non-profit organisation they are designing how the project can be a platform for activists and artists alike as well as an advocate for “those who have not received a fair shot at success in the creative industries due to their complexion, gender, sexuality or other forms of discrimination”.
The video below shows imagery of the organisation’s very first protest. Juke and Phoenix explained to me how important it is for the collective to “bring music to protests, but also bring protests to music”. To impact and change the culture itself is no small task which the organisers of Black Music Movement are fully aware of. That knowledge does not hinder their objectives though and the organisation is constantly welcoming new artists and activists to participate.
Check out the project’s Instagram page until their webpage is up and running.
Veteran rapper Awkword has released a new single protesting the police and prisons. Helping him make the song drop hard and adding vocals to the hook is producer Jesse Jett.
According to the statement on the YouTube video the “Ten Demands for Justice envisions a new society in which prisons and police are no longer necessary, and communities are equipped to provide for their own health and safety.
Ten Demands for Justice offers a roadmap for the defunding and then full abolition of police and prisons, beginning with immediate actions to end police violence as well as racism and classism in policing, prosecution and sentencing.”
Moroccan artists have long had to face serious oppression and attacks on to their freedom of expression. The latest victim of Moroccan government and police system is rapper Gnawi (real name Mohamed Mounir) who recently rapped on a track that criticizes the government and the economic division that young and older people experience on a daily basis.
The track’s lyrics cover a lot of ground and even criticize the king of Morocco which is a criminal offense in the country.
Apparently Gnawi can appeal the court’s decision. We at Shouts call upon the Moroccan government to stop oppressing free speech and artists’ freedom to create and work.
One can only wonder why governments are so afraid of music. After all, they are the ones with the big weapons – how much can a rap song harm them? A protest song is supposed inspire the masses though, and if successful, the people who listen and take the message to heart can join hands and tear down fascist governments.
That must be why governments put singers in prison. To prevent such possible damage to their powers. That is also why we must all keep on singing, and fight for the rights of those currently locked up.