Contributions of African American Anthems for Social Justice and Equity

John T. Mills, Demond S. Miller

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


African American artistic expression through music continues to reflect and shape “culture” in this country. Musicians have used their talents to challenge and illuminate the oppressive structural and systemic practices that perpetuate economic, judicial, and political inequities for the marginalized. As such, protest anthems of the 1960s and 1970s, including Nina Simone’s Mississippi Goddam! (1964), James Brown’s Say it Loud (I’m Black and I’m Proud) (1968), and Bob Marley and the Wailers’ Get Up, Stand Up (1973), continue to serve as iconic standard-bearers of avant-garde Black popular culture and are globally recognized social justice anthems that express an array of concerns, foster an understanding of injustices, and promote individual and collective liberation. These anthems of protest are now being carried on in Hip-Hop songs, including Niggaz Wit Attitudes’ Fight the Power (1989), Tupac Shakur’s Changes (1998), Kendrick Lamar’s Alright (2015), and Lil Baby’s The Bigger Picture (2020). This chapter highlights anthems within a socio-historical context and the legacy of the protest anthems from a historical trajectory offering continuity of both the past and the current social justice struggles. These songs and media forms continue to speak to the current generation as they spoke to past generations and will speak to future generations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBlack Popular Culture and Social Justice
Subtitle of host publicationBeyond the Culture
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781000840391
ISBN (Print)9781032306643
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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