Girth Radio Home

Louder Than Words: A Marriage Between Music and Social Change

Louder Than Words: A Marriage Between Music and Social Change

Jessica Cheng

Girth Radio Presents…

There is, and has always been, an unmistakable marriage between music and politics.

From its earliest inception, rock and roll has been a genre tied to the socio-political. Its roots (though somewhat contested) belong to the African American musical tradition, and it became a style that leant itself to many notable movements of the 20th century. Rock and roll became the catalyst for civic unrest, and has provided the soundtrack to every relevant epoch since its inception.

The intersection between rock, politics and social movements has been visible from the Vietnam War, the fight for gender equality, and music’s influence in the civil rights movement.

Notable examples include John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s anti-war song Give Peace a Chance. Their bed-ins for peace in Amsterdam and Montreal were a direct response to the Vietnam War. Their role as prominent musicians afforded the newlyweds a platform to express their protest in a nonviolent and impactful way. The song, written in during the Montreal bed-in, offered an uplifting anthem to the anti-Vietnam War movement.


A guitar with a drawing by John Lennon on display at Louder Than Words: Rock, Power and Politics

Music has always been intertwined with the struggle against social inequality. The introduction of hip-hop to the mainstream emerged in the 1980s. It arose as a response to police brutality in racialized and poor neighbourhoods, and it served a direct affront to racism and to break down racial barriers. Hip-hop as a subcultural movement is a celebration of Blackness. It was a cultural response – a way to push back against the historic oppression and racism towards Black youth. Hip-hop created a system of communication through the medium of music that reflected the social, political and economic realities of marginalized youth.


A poster on Gender and Sexuality and Music on display at Louder Than Words: Rock, Power and Politics

Now, two iconic museums, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio and the Newseum in Washington, D.C., are partnering on the one-of-a-kind exhibit Louder Than Words: Rock, Power and Politics to celebrate the unique and powerful relationship between music and the sociopolitical.

It will examine how artists use music to challenge notions on free speech, to confront assumptions and beliefs, and to stimulate thought and galvanize change. The exhibit uses video, multimedia, photographs, periodicals and artifacts from rock’s diverse history such as this clip where Bono breaks down Bullet the Blue Sky:

Louder Than Words: Rock, Power and Politics
Opens May 20, 2016 at the Rock Hall in Cleveland
Opens Jan. 6, 2017 at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

Check it out HERE

28 June 2016 Girth Radio Blog , , , ,

Comments are closed