I love a good song about kicking back with friends and enjoying a sunny and 75 day at the beach. Music often serves as the upbeat burst of positivity that many people need throughout the day. There are many different types of messages shared through music; a spectrum of thoughts and feelings are ignited through a song when a person relates to a message. Today, there are artists using their public spotlight platform to spread messaged about our society’s most pressing issues.
Beyoncé used her new album to voice her passion for the #BlackLivesMatter revolution and be a voice for black women in America today.
She promoted Lemonade, a unique visual album, on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to share the music that makes bold political statements about the racism that exists in the United States. But the promotion of her album and empowering messages did not stop with the music. During her Super Bowl performance, Beyoncé’s back up dancers sported Black Panther inspired costumes.
Beyoncé posted many photos on her Instagram account from the performance to showcase her statement through the costumes. The costumes caused controversy on social media. The hashtag #boycottbeyonce started Twitter debates. The boycotts were not just against her, but the message she sent. In typical Queen B fashion, Beyoncé took the backlash on social media and maximized on the hate. She began selling Boycott Beyoncé t-shirts at her concerts to address protestors and create more awareness of her message. The hashtag transitioned from people who opposed her Super Bowl performance to a satirical hashtag used by those to convey how ridiculous the boycott was. Beyoncé proves artists are able to strategically use social media attention, good or bad, to reinforce their lyrics and engage in dialogue about real issues America is facing today.
Callean Arvelo, a fourth year pre-physical therapy student from Miami, appreciates how Beyoncé boldly sings about current events to create discussion and change.
“The super bowl performance was a great way to educate her audience and express her beliefs, while reinforcing her pro-blackness and feminist stance,” Arvelo said.
Arvelo typically listens to artists that support his values.
“If the music has a political message, it definitely supports my values. Specifically about speaking out about equality, police brutality and women’s rights. As a black man, police brutality is very important to me right now and I enjoy music that speaks about this issue,” Arvelo said. “Overall, I think artists should create more music on political issues and express their stances since they are such influential people.”
Music is an art found in every culture. It dates back to the age of the Neanderthals. Music will be a part of society and constantly evolve as people’s values and preferences change. Social impact through music grows every day, and as the impact grows, musicians take on a powerful responsibility to use their reach to share positive and progressive messages that have the ability to change society.