“Always let your art be the statement”: Three artists using art for activism

I’ve started this creative endeavor, Art Evokes, in a time when most areas of my social life are inundated with tragic stories of innocent people being murdered and an entire community and generation screaming “WE ARE HERE” and “WE MATTER.”

Through this project, I will promote light over darkness, love over hatred and very importantly, beauty over all. I’m inspired by those who use their voice and influence to call attention to love, light and beauty. I do not believe that an artist is obligated to have views that are explicitly political but I do think that she should always work to uplift society as a whole through their creation. These three artist have used their artistry to not only show their opinions but to promote powerful uplifting messages.

Erykah Badu erykah I’ll always hold a very special place within myself for Ms. Badu. Her fifth album, “New Amerykah Part 2: Return of the Ankh” was released in 2010 when I was struggling through the onset of an illness– later diagnosed as Multiple Sclerosis.

The album reminded me of my own inner strength with lyrics saying, “But if I get off my knees, I might recall, I’m 20 feet tall.” The entire album inspired me to summon inner strength and face my reality with staunch courage. I remember leaving the hospital and taking my first breath of fresh air with “Window Seat”– the lead single from the album– blasting in my ear buds.

Empowerment, love and consciousness are the focus of all of Badu’s music and this music compilation proves it.  Aptly named, “FEEL BETTER, WORLD!… LOVE, MS. BADU”, the artist shares music that inspires her– harmonies that promote love, light and harmony. About the project, she writes:

ALL OVER THE GLOBE…KEEP WALKING TALL BROTHERS AND SISTERS. SOMEDAY WE WILL ALL BE FREE. THE WORLD IS IN NEED OF HEALING…. I CAREFULLY AND LOVINGLY SELECTED HIGH FREQUENCY TONES FOR THE SOUL…. PLEASE LISTEN FROM TOP TO BOTTOM. LOVE, ms. badu

To me, this compilation is a call to stand up, stand tall, stay bright and continue to love. The tracks also reminds me that loving oneself is always the place to start. Because after all, if you can’t love yourself, how in the Hell you gonna love somebody else?

Prince prince Hail to the Purple One! As if his prolific discography of ingenious compositions was not enough, Prince answered the call show support after Baltimore, MD’s Freddie Gray was killed while in police custody. The “Purple Rain” singer released a tribute song, “Baltimore“, and organized last-minute “Rally for Peace” concerts in Washington, DC and Baltimore.

To match the urgency for advocacy, his action was swift: the Baltimore show was pulled together in just 5 days. And there’s more. According to activists, Prince also had about 170 people moved from the arena’s $22 seats to the front row.

Alice Smith

091412-music-alice-smith-return

Possibly my favorite of all time, Alice Smith’s unique and strong vocals lace powerfully over this track. Of all the tributes here, her was the most pleasantly surprising to me. Alice is known for show stopping performances and a closely- held personal life. She rarely does interviews and when she does, they’re strictly about her music. That’s one reason why hearing her release her sorrow on the ills of our society on this record was a special occasion.

In an Instagram post debuting the song, the singer wrote:

I’m not sure what to say. It’s unbelievable what’s going on. @davesitek and @sam_dew wrote this song, and we recorded it the other night. Tonight, with all that has been happening with the police, we decided to put it out. Kind of a release. Shell Shock…

Listen to “Shell Shock” here.

Inspiration abounds, folks. Just look around and listen. Fight the urge to get bogged down with negativity and instead use your energy to create, promote and perpetuate light, love and beauty.

Artfully,

sig

P.S. What artistic expressions of resistence have you notice lately? Maybe you’re heard a song, read a poem or seen a piece of visual art. Let’s talk about it in the comment section below!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s