Anti-Racist Songs for #BLM2020
In light of recent events here are 10 anti-racist tracks, from the first of half of 2020, which I hope will be of some solace and inspiration for the fight against racial injustice in the months ahead. Use these songs to channel your anger, to reflect and to work towards a beautiful world free from anti-blackness, police brutality and state violence. You can also find the songs on this Spotify list.
We've seen a huge increase in the number of people reaching out to The Anti-Racist Educator, supporting us and wanting to engage in anti-racist action - thank you! If you haven't received a response to a message, that's because we're busy creating content and Black Lives Matter school resources, while also taking care of our well-being. Just hold on to those feelings, reflect on them and please don't let them subside six months from now.
1. 'America pt 2' by The Menzingers
The original track can be found in the ‘Hello Exile’ (2019) album. Pennsylvania punks, The Menzingers, offer their take on the past fortnight on this country tinged reworking of last year’s America (You’re Freaking Me Out).
Well George Floyd was murdered by a cop
The whole world saw the video and watched
Now justice is long overdue
2. 'Walking in the Snow' by Run The Jewels
From the album RTJ4, Rush released this song for free in response to current events. This rough and ready rap masterpiece will serve as a timely soundtrack for the months of protest ahead. Whilst being depressingly pertinent, Killer Mike, who has regularly addressed themes of racism and police brutality in various forms, will undoubtedly birth a mass of new activists courtesy of his no holds barred verse on ‘walking in the snow’.
And every day on evening news they feed you fear for free And you so numb you watch the cops choke out a man like me And 'til my voice goes from a shriek to whisper, "I can't breathe" And you sit there in the house on couch and watch it on TV The most you give's a Twitter rant and call it a tragedy
3. 'Where You From' by Riz Ahmed
Riz Ahmed offers a poetic masterclass on a concept album, 'The Long Goodbye,' which metaphorically utilises the breakup of a romantic relationship, to damningly dissect the United Kingdom’s historical and contemporary relationship with immigrants. This particular track offers an eloquent response to a question that will be all too familiar with minority ethnic communities living in the UK today.
Very few fit these labels, so I'm repping for the rest of us Who know that there's no place like home and that stretches us Who code switch, so don't piss me off with cricket tests for us Or question us about our loyalty, our blood and sweat's enough
4. 'Resistance Frequencies' by Anti-Flag
Few working musicians today can rival Anti-Flag’s commitment and outspokenness on race related issues in recent decades and this track, taken from this year’s modern protest classic, 20/20 Vision, proves exactly that. This song, and the entire album, embody all that is great about the punk rock movement.
The victims are just props in a public execution Of justice, freedom, liberty in neo-fascist movements It's not a dying planet that's made you less free Is it the brown child that we've caged publicly?
5. 'Everywhere That Wog Army Roams' by Cornershop
From the album 'England is a Garden,' Tijinder Singh recounts his personal experience of police harassment and racial profiling on this reworking of Norman Watson’s ‘Rasta Army’.
Everywhere that wog army roam
Policemen follow them
They follow Priti and Juja Singh,
Policemen follow them
6. 'Pursuit of Liberty' by Bad Cop, Bad Cop
Los Angeles punk quartet, Bad Cop, Bad Cop, decry US immigration policy and practice as well as negative rhetoric around the movement of people worldwide on this blistering preview from their forthcoming sophomore offering, The Ride.
By raising the fences, we're lowering the bar It seems like we're traveling back to Manzanar By persecuting people just trying to be free We're stopping them from their pursuit of liberty
7. 'Black Savage' by Royce Da 5”9
Taken from his latest self-produced concept album, The Allegory, this track not only highlights the gross racism faced by the African-American community but is also a defiant celebration of Black talent succeeding massively in spite of the horrendous obstacles their country has imposed on them.
I place value on brothers who never had justice
I am the black savage
Ali and Foreman in Zaire fightin' for black magic
8. 'Stealing the Future' by Asian Dub Foundation
From the album 'Access Denied,' the genre defying London collective, Asian Dub Foundation, preview their long anticipated 9th studio album with this typically socially conscious call to arms.
Go home on a boat, cause everyone here is a foreigner
Black or Brown conspirator
They be riding in a cop car
Still we brother and sister, still in the fight together
Short on hope but it still exists
You know we must resist like this!
9. 'Deeper Than Rap' by J Hus
On the final track from the critically acclaimed Big Conspiracy we are treated to a wondrous stream of consciousness from Momodou Jallow which, amongst other things, explores his views on faith, incarceration and racism.
We looked at the stars and then we navigated
We started thinkin' as one then we elevated
We never said a word, we just demonstrated
No blacks, no dogs, we were segregated
They took our history then they went and erased it
10. '2020 Riots: How Many Times' by Trey Songz
Inspired by recent events, this hymn like offering sheds light on injustice, racism and police brutality whilst acknowledging the pain and anguish that many are suffering.
How many mothers have to cry?
How many brother got to die?
How many more times? How many more times?
How many more marches? How many more signs?
How many more lives? How many more times?