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Tuesday, April 24 • 11:15am - 11:35am
I Can't Breathe: Musical Protests in the Black Lives Matter Movement

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Due to numerous highly publicized killings of unarmed black men and subsequent lack of justice for their killers, a social tipping point was reached in 2014. In response to these many racial injustices, the social movement called Black Lives Matter was formed to fight institutionalized racism and challenge anti-blackness that permeates the white-dominated society of the United States (Black Lives Matter 2018 “Herstory”). Through content analysis of song lyrics, it will be shown that music reflects the themes of the Black Lives Matter Movement, such as addressing police brutality and mass incarceration as racial injustices. Music which addresses racial injustice will be referred to as musical protest. The potential effects of these musical protests may be to increase participation and awareness, as well as to spread messages of the movement to wider audiences. Music may be a unique rhetorical medium for communicating about police brutality and institutionalized racism, expressing pain and anger nonviolently, and engaging in social conversations and negotiations about race in the United States. Therefore, music may serve crucial functions in the Black Lives Matter Movement so that a complete understanding of the dynamics of the social movement may not be reached without consideration given to musical protests.


Tuesday April 24, 2018 11:15am - 11:35am PDT
236 Zageir Hall

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