Music and Social Movements: Role of Rap and Hip-Hop on the Black Lives Matter Movement
Advisor: Professor Hislope
March 7th, 2022
Ostensibly music is primarily for entertainment yet often political and revolutionary themes reflect the zeitgeist of the culture and times. Unlike pop music, themes of disaffection, alienation, and even resistance to authority serve as artistic statements of the human condition. Music is an outlet for self-expression, unification, and communal growth. Music may also be a weapon of indoctrination, control, and elitism. I examine philosophers and historians such as Adorno, Marx, Attali, etc. to establish an understanding of the commodification of music and how this alters an authentic listening experience. Additionally, I attempt to establish the ways in which music can cause action. My research includes the work of Eyerman and Jamison to distinguish the culture and structure of social movements to holistically define music and movements. The second half of my thesis examines my findings using the Black Lives Matter movement as a case study. The Black Lives Matter movement began as a response to the unjust murder of Trayvon Martin in 2012 and the subsequent racial injustices and police brutality that has ensued in America throughout the past decade. Black American music has majorly influenced American culture and expression. Emblematic messaging of Black power, justice, reformation, and strength are conveyed through the hip-hop and rap genres. Collectivism through music helps to share a message and propel action as seen through the Black Lives Matter movement.