Many things have occurred this year. A revolution, a virus and trying to get back to normal. The alleged murder of George Floyd sparked riots, protests and marches. Thou most of this was done by the community and surrounding areas, celebrities and artist got in on it too. We are experiencing a new golden age of protest music.
That kind of musical statement has a history to it that stretches across the centuries and could surely make a mixtape for the ages. This is a new age of injustice, one with a heightened awareness of state violence and a national reckoning with the state-sanctioned disposability of black lives, and so this moment clearly demands a new set of jams.
Out of this situation has come #BlackLivesMatter, the most high-profile black movement in more than two decades to emerge on the national scene. Music has always been integral to the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States, with songs such as Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright,” J. Cole’s “Be Free,” D’Angelo and the Vanguard’s “The Charade,” The Game’s “Don’t Shoot,” Janelle Monae’s “Hell You Talm bout,” Usher’s “Chains,” and many others serving as unofficial anthems and soundtracks for members and allies of the movement.
As the movement progresses, so does the celebrity, government and legislative involvement.