protest songs

Timeline created by cedric quentin
In Music
  • strange fruit

    strange fruit
    Billie Holiday first recorded “Strange Fruit” in 1939, adapting the words of a poem called “Bitter Fruit” written by high school teacher Abel Meeropol and published in 1937, after he saw a photograph of a lynching.
  • What’s Going On

    What’s Going On
    Marvin Gaye wrote this song that went on to become an anti-war anthem shortly after his brother Frankie returned home from the Vietnam War.
  • Fight The Power

    Fight The Power
    Spike Lee approached Public Enemy to create a song for his film Do The Right Thing, giving rise to this enduring protest anthem. In the fall of 1989, when black students in Virginia rioted against hostile police officers, the crowd chanted “fight the power” as a rallying cry.
  • fuck tha police

    fuck tha police
    Originally released in 1988 in a biopic of N.W.A. and featured on their second album#, this song may be one of the most controversial songs ever recorded.
  • Don’t Shoot

    Don’t Shoot
    This song, and its powerful accompanying music video, is a rallying cry for trans people, queer people, and people of color. As a black transgender woman, Shea Diamond believes that this song captures the intersections of her experience and identity.

    The lyrics and beat of this song work together to create one of the most memorable anthems of the last decade. The exultant chorus (“Live fast / Die young / Bad girls do it well”) sticks in your head
  • Alright

    In 2015, the words “we gon’ be alright” could be heard shouted at anti-police brutality protests around the country. Kendrick Lamar has spoken on the impact and breadth of the Grammy-winning single, which has become the unofficial anthem of the Black Lives Matter Movement.
  • We The People

    We The People
    This is a song for the marginalized masses living in post-2016 election America. After an 18-year hiatus, A Tribe Called Quest released this as a lead single to their final studio album days after Donald Trump was elected into office
  • Freedom

    At the center of Beyoncé’s visual album Lemonade is this rallying cry against the systemic oppression black women have faced for centuries. The music video, released on the International Day of the Girl, features black women working and sitting in communion together on a southern plantation.
  • Immigrants

    Almost every night on the Broadway stage, one line is spoken that receives a full-crowd applause and a standing ovation: “Immigrants / We get the job done!” This line inspired a song that ended up on The Hamilton Mixtape, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hip-hop concept album that featured various artists and their re-conceptions of the songs and lyrics from his hit musical.
  • Change

    In this track, RM of BTS and Wale call upon their fanbases, known as the Army and Moonz, respectively, to create a change in their communities. RM told Teen Vogue in 2017 that when Wale approached him to do a collaboration, he wanted to do something different.
  • this is america

    this is america
    In 2018, actor Donald Glover, known by his musical moniker Childish Gambino, released this song accompanied by a powerful music video depicting the anti-black racism that occurs every day in the United States.
  • Americans

    In April 2018, Janelle Monáe released an album that discusses the intricacies of race, sexual identity, and gender equality. The album Dirty Computer is inherently and deliberately political.