Written by Charisa Chedie
Aretha Franklin, 2Pac, Kendrick Lamar or John Coltrane: here are 25 songs to put you in the right activism mood. But before you press play, please take a moment to look at our top 5 curated by five Dutch changemakers.
#1. This is America – Childish Gambino
By Jenny Janssen, co-founder of NO THANKS! an organization creating awareness for sexual intimidation and safety at festivals.
In ‘This is America’, rapper and actor Childish Gambino shows the racial disparities in America. The video clip shows what suffering black bodies have to endure and how much they get exposed to terror and injustice. “The song and the video clip both just amaze me. It really holds a mirror in front of the listener/viewer and has a lot of strong symbolism in it. Also, it’s just an extremely well-written song.”
#2. Matter of Time – Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings
By Imane Nadif, a council member for GroenLinks in Amsterdam, raising awareness for the quickly changing climate and is fighting for a more sustainable Amsterdam.
Sharon Jones has not just hope, but also confidence in the ever-changing United States. In the song, Jones sings about her belief that justice will one day be served to those that have suffered and have been treated unequally, but it will take some time. “I have listened to this song during the campaign of GroenLinks during the local elections and I still listen to it before I participate in big debates. It gives me hope.”
#3. Formation – Beyonce
By Brian Elstak, visual artist, illustrator, painter and children’s book writer. Focusses on the bigger representation of marginalized groups.
Formation dropped by surprise in 2017 by the biggest pop artist of our time, Beyonce. With the song and the video clip, Beyonce owns her cultural heritage and addresses political justice issues. “I love it because it gives me and other listeners energy. You’re getting lessons, you get empowered and at the same time you still get entertained.”
#4. Outside – George Michael
By Lionstorm, the Netherland’s first lesbian rap duo, who wants to make the music industry more LGBTQIAP+ friendly.
This George Michael single was a direct response to his arrest in 1998 and the public’s outrage. In that year, George was caught engaging in a sexual act by an undercover police officer in a public toilet in Beverly Hills. It forced him to come out with his sexuality. “We really admire how he reacted in an aesthetically, positive, commercially way to a scandal that was caused by an actual taboo in society against homosexuality.”
#5. Alright – Kendrick Lamar
By Massih Hutak, a writer, rapper and activist fighting against gentrification in Amsterdam-Noord, his district.
‘Alright’ is an anthem of positivity written amidst a backdrop of civil unrest in the States. In the song, Kendrick addresses police brutality and the killing of unarmed African-American’s. “The battle, the pain and the hope are clearly visible in that song. You hear it in his lyrics, voice and music. It is actually a celebration of being black and the black culture and it became the anthem of the Black Lives Matter movement. This is what moves me about this song.”
Are you excited to listen to the full revolutionary playlist? Click here to head over to our Spotify playlist!