The 10 Best Anti-Racism Songs
IN the past couple of years, most of us have been surprised, shocked and nauseated by high profile racism. In football, we’ve seen players walking off the pitch in protest and eating bananas thrown at them. The NBA is currently feeling the fire after the Clippers’ owner said a bunch of appalling shit in a phone call to his girlfriend.
Of course, it you’re not in a bubble, you’ll know that, while work against racism has come a long way, there’s still a lot to be done.
One of the greatest conveyors of message is music, so with recent events, we’ve picked a bunch of records that should show you two things: People against racism ALWAYS make better music than racists and, secondly, some of these records are old, while some are new, which underlines how depressingly racism still looms in our society.
The most recent protest is from R&B god, The-Dream, who released ‘BLACK’ online, where he says: “Black isn’t just a colour; Black isn’t just a race anymore. It’s a feeling and a place from which one feels isolated by the world of the governing elite. Classism is the new racism. This is what black feels like.”
Have a listen to The-Dream’s new song, and a selection of other great anti-racist records. We’ve decided to pick a bunch that are off the beaten track, but feel free to share the famous and your favourites with us.
Brand new and powerful. Depressing that, in 2014, this record needed to be made.
The Impressions ‘Mighty Mighty’
Curtis Mayfield’s first band go for the jugular, promoting peace with an irresistible groove.
Sly & The Family Stone ‘Don’t Call Me Nigger, Whitey’
Sly Stone, when the mood took him, was one of the most direct songwriters on the planet. In this track, he doesn’t mince his words one bit.
Kanye West ‘Black Skinhead’
Another depressingly recent track, Yeezy goes hard on racism on a beat even harder.
Mos Def ‘Mr Nigga’
Mos Def talks about being black in America and around the world, before tying Michael Jackson’s personal life into Woody Allen’s. In 1999, there were few talking about Woody Allen, and this opened a whole rap generation up to the media bias that Public Enemy and NWA started.
Syl Johnson ‘Is It Because I’m Black?’
Plaintive, painful soul record from Stax.
The Specials ‘Racist Friend’
’80s Britain had a big problem with the National Front and various skinhead groups and, as ever, Jerry Dammers wasn’t having any of it.
Lord Kitchener ‘If You’re Not White’
Calypso king, Lord Kitchener, wrote a lot of bawdy songs but, he was also direct and political. In this track, he’s delivers an uncomfortable message with a weary, resigned tone, which needed to be heard. It still does.
Mike James Kirkland ‘Hang On In There’
Supreme and sophisticated funk from MJK, this song of two parts offers support and hope, before dishing out some home truths. A perfect protest record.
Nina Simone ‘Mississippi Goddamn’
Just one of Nina’s brilliant political songs. She starts off being vague, before getting angrier and more despairing, to the point where she’s losing her faith in prayer.