Music for Change

Despite our differences, we all speak the language of music. In our progressive societies, no matter who you are, where you are from, we are all able to be connected through music. There are many civilizations’ cultures that were built strongly around music. For instance, the Phnong community, a minority group of Cambodia, play their traditional songs using their traditional gong and sing in their native Phnong language along with a wine offering, as their way of greeting and sending best wishes to visitors that come by their community. Culturally, music is more than entertainment. It is a tool that is able to promote thought-provoking conversations and raise awareness of crucial social issues, and most importantly, music is one of the most effective mediums for advocacy. 


On January 12, 2010, Haiti was struck by one of the world’s most devastating earthquakes with a death toll reaching 200,000. As a re-recording to its 25th anniversary, We Are the World was the advocacy for the people of Haiti. We Are the World 25 for Haiti was released on February 12, 2010. It has proceeded to fundraise to aid survivors after the earthquake. Back in 1985, when the original was first released, the song was a fundraising medium for humanitarian aid in the US and Africa. After it was released, the song raised approximately $63 million (equivalent to $144 million today). 


In 2012, Macklemore released his inspirational music video called Same Love, a song that tackles the pressing issues of marriage inequality, LGBTQ rights, homophobia within the hip-hop community, and the misuse of the word “gay.” The lyrics emphasized important issues such as legalizing gay marriage and advocating for more conversation about the issues. “For those that like the same sex had the characteristics. The right-wing conservatives think it’s a decision, and you can be cured with some treatment and religion.” The lyrics highlight some of the most devastating myths of the LGBTQ community. The song itself provides the sense of community to those of homosexuality, a safe space for people of the same mind. 


Alessia Cara released a self-love advocacy song called Scars To Your Beautiful back in 2015. The song was a direct message to women who feel the need to live up to the beauty of social standards. During her performance at the VMA 2017, Alessia first appeared in a red ball gown covered in makeup. As the performance progressed, Alessia removed her red dress, luxurious jewelry, and heavy makeup then revealed her natural aesthetic beauty. Through her music, Scars to Your Beautiful, Alicia Cara sheds light on the tormenting experiences people have gone through to meet the demanding demanding social beauty standards. Alessia has amplified the unique natural beauty, and stress that no one, especially women, do not need to force themselves for social approval.


These are some of the few examples of songs that play a very important role in advocating for changes in our society. This music connects people by presenting pressing social issues and global events. Each song raises thought-provoking conversations along with reasonable solutions to crucial problems. Music’s sole purpose is not only for entertainment, but rather it has great potential to work as an important medium for change. 


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