Music helps to unite us and give us strength. Instead of viewing difference as a negative, music celebrates diversity and proves that cultures can mix with beautiful results. More than ever we require the power of music as an antidote to racist attitudes sweeping our nations.
Below are 10 inspirational songs, with strong anti-racist sentiments, generally released this year from artists spanning various genres:
1. Loyle Carner's 'Looking Back'
South London hip hop artist, Loyle Carner, provides us with his experience of being mixed race on this track featuring on his new album, Not Waving, But Drowning.
Key Lyric: “I'm thinking that my great grandfather could've owned my other one and yo, that shit is weird."
2. The Specials' 'BLM'
The Ska legends from Coventry released their 8th studio album, Encore, earlier this year. This track chronicles Lynval Golding and his family’s experience of racism in the UK and USA.
Key Lyric: “In England them call you a black bastard
In America they call you a goddamn nigger
Boy, welcome to my world”
3. The Skints' 'The Island'
The Island is a razor-sharp commentary of contemporary UK delivered in the unrepentant spirit of the great 70s punk bands.
Key Lyric: “It might be what you fed them, it might be what you read them on the news at Ten, because they don’t play well with others and cant process different colours”
4. Lowkey's 'Ahmed'
Inspired by the death of Alan Kurdi, a three year old Syrian boy of Kurdish ethnic background whose image made global headlines after he drowned on 2nd September 2015 in the Mediterranean Sea.
Key Lyric: “Beyond the sky, escaped the curse of birth that he was burdened by, Ahmed never grew to let your racism internalise”
5. Gary Clark Jr's 'This Land'
A brutally honest account of growing up Black in the American South and his experience of living in today’s America.
Key Lyric: “Go back where you come from
We don't want, we don't want your kind
We think you's a dog born"
Fuck you, I'm America's son
This is where I come from”
6. Millencolin's 'Caveman's Land'
Swedish punk band, Millencolin, make mockery of tribalism and division on this witty yet vital track.
Key Lyric: “Even with the Internet you find the logic is hard to get when your mindset is all Jurassic, you're still a troglodyte”
7. Dave's 'Black'
Released as the first single of his critically acclaimed debut, Psychodrama, South London rapper, Dave, addresses themes of racial and social inequality.
Key Lyric: “Our heritage been severed, you never got to experiment with family trees, 'cause they teach you 'bout famine and greed and show you pictures of our fam on their knees”
8. Marvin Gaye's 'You're the Man'
The title track of this posthumous album release from the legendary soul singer would have served as the perfect follow up to 1971’s classic What’s Going On.
Key Lyric: “Demagogues and admitted minority haters should never be President, this time a lady”
(Album accessible here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1l1lMgDAMcg&list=OLAK5uy_kSqiow3Icc4bUL_a-0HBGP20KWmRdfet8)
9. Steel Pulse's 'Don't Shoot'
Hailing from Handsworth, Birmingham, veteran roots reggae collective, Steel Pulse, provide a tuneful response to police brutality on their new album, Mass Manipulation.
Key Lyric: “I say don’t get disillusioned, by this racist institution, the bigots are out there with their weapons too, yes they’re aiming just to gun down our children”
10. Bad Religion's 'Big Black Dog'
Although not explicitly stated, it isn’t hard to imagine who Los Angeles punks, Bad Religion, are taking aim at in their trademark form of satirical punk rock.
Key Lyric: “We are alone and all is one
The father daughter devil and son
They deal in art, the art of the deal
They sing Seig Heils in aisles of high heels”