Prison Radio
Mumia Abu-Jamal

“Music of the Movement.”

Several weeks ago, a music student asked me about the fast growing resistance movement emerging in the wake of the electoral triumph of the Trump regime. I told him that I was sure it would emerge, for movements often spark musical reflections of what is in the hearts of the people. Since the fires of Ferguson, we have seen an explosion of artistic musical expressions, especially in the world of rap.

Southern rapper TI’s “War Zone” with its chorus, “Hands up, can’t breathe!” cites to the Charleston church killings, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and beyond.

New York rapper Nas accompanied by female singer Ray sang “The Birth of a Nation,” inspired by the recent movie based on the nineteenth-century slave rebellion led by Nat Turner. It is, as the lyrics tell, a declaration of war.

Rapper Uncle Murda’s song “Hands Up,” featuring Maino and Jay Watts, is a plaintiff call for revenge against police repression and resistance to the mass incarceration in black America.

But perhaps best snow is also a movie theme to the film Selma sung and played by John legend and rapped by Chicago’s Common titled “Glory.” The work is a majestic musical masterpiece that ties the police terrorism and brutality of the voting rights in Selma to the more recent struggles of Ferguson, MO.

Music arises from social movements, giving life, energy, and inspiration for the struggles to come.

From imprisoned nation, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.

These commentaries are recorded by Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio.