Music As A Resistance Tool

Music is considered as one of the most basic forms of entertainment. If it weren’t for music, entertainment mediums like radio, television and films would be less expressive and dull. Can anyone imagine a Bollywood title with no music? Or what about sitcoms like Glee which revolves its entire story line with songs? Yes, music could be considered as a vital source of pleasure however there are also those who use it for social evolutions (Martin 2014). Since music does affect man intellectually and emotionally, it is used as an effective propaganda tool during political interventions. Futhermore, its use is continued through 1) revolution, 2) shaping collective identity, 3) repression, 4) manifestation of statehood, 5) political protest, 6) political campaign and also 7) war (Gelnarova 2014)

Most of the examples found are mainly derived from the U.S. as their musicians and songwriters often get involved in social evolutions which uses songs and political messages to move the public’s hearts. One of the greatest examples of all time would be Billie Holiday’s ‘Strange Fruit’ (Martin 2014) . Apparently, she was illustrating the events- lynchings and abominations- that were happening in American South. As audiences tend to draw themselves closer to resistance music, Aretha Franklin had brought her gospel music into the streets as protestors were marching and demanding for respect during the Civil Rights Movement. Another artist named Curtiss Mayfield had also joined in the resistant music group as he united everyone using his song of hope ‘People Get Ready’ (Martin 2014) . In addition to that, the famous Stevie Wonder had continued the ongoing trend as he played more resistant music to uplift the spirits of Americans.

The list does not end here. There are several other music artists who have also joined in the same circle as the ones mentioned above. But the reason for their commitment towards resistance music is hard to display. However, we have found an article which predicts the reason as to why resistance music is powerful. For one it says, music gets people talking and thinking (Martin 2014) . I suppose that ‘assumption’ is good enough as people are obliged into following trends which music brings them. We see the public paying for concerts, dressing up exactly like the artist, and willing to record songs mimicking the singer. In a way, it displays society as a vulnerable group who keeps receiving ideas and absorbing them. At times active, but very often audiences are passive. They do not question why or what is going on, but they often follow what others are doing and this creates the ripple effect within their community.


Martin, B 2014, ‘Music and the Politics of Resistance‘, The Huffington Post, accessed 11/11/2016,


Gelnarova, J 2014, ‘Hudba & Politika’, National Museum, accessed 11/11/2016,



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