With the current political climate in America, everything has seemingly become centered around politics. One thing that has become increasingly political in America is music and artists’ intent to produce that music.
Countless chart-topping artists have been investing most of their creativity into making staggering statements that comment on the direction that our society has been traveling in. This spike in conversation came about leading up to the 2016 presidential election and peaked after the Inauguration. The Inauguration itself was a hassle to even plan because so many artists refused to perform the national anthem as well as at the Inaugural Ball.
Overall, this ostensibly new genre of music exudes somewhat of a common message: resist and unite. It has touched on topics like racial, gender, orientation, and socioeconomic inequalities along with discussing how to remain united in a time of blatant division.
One artist that socially commented on this ideal is RuPaul Charles. The drag queen-actor-host-supermodel-singer-entrepreneur-marketing-genius released a track on his most recent studio album called “American”. Musically known for hits such as “Supermodel” and “Cover Girl” that reflect on the idea of confidence specifically for the LGBT+ community, RuPaul assumes a new position when bringing to light that no matter who is in office and no matter what the state of the nation is in, no one can take away the fact that he is an American and America is not represented by bigotry and exclusivity.
A musical prodigy who has always played with the political messages in music is Kendrick Lamar. Most prominently political is his album “To Pimp a Butterfly” which is packed full of rhetoric that reflects how morbidly present racism is in America. Tracks like “King Kunta” and “The Blacker the Berry” which are featured on this album discuss the treatment of and discrimination against African-Americans while shamelessly celebrating his own culture simultaneously, creating quite a composite cocktail.
Lamar is also featured on the one and only Beyoncé’s song “Freedom,” which mirrors this ongoing discussion of racism that provides historical context and social relevancy. Beyoncé also produced a certified gold track called “Formation” that was originally released as a music video that echoed her lyrics regarding the empowerment of women and black people and reproduced the intent visually.
Another artist on the rise who has stepped under the political lampshade is Lana Del Rey who was very vocal about her beliefs after the presidential election. An artist known for her somber symphonies decided to release an album that was antithetical of most of her previous work. The album “Lust for Life” gave a voice of hope in a time of crisis and division. Her tracks “God Bless America – And All the Beautiful Women In It” and “When the World Was at War We Kept Dancing” alluded to very specific notions that were exaggerated during the presidential race because of the events that occurred most recently.
Many have said that creativity is what the world needs most right now and it is artists like these who are showing people the power that music has and its definitive qualities on entire generations. There is no end in sight for this creativeness but there is hope for an end to division and bigotry.