Published Dec 05, 2014The Roots' leader Questlove is urging musicians to take a stance following a pair of controversial, high-profile non-indictment rulings in the United States.
With police officers avoiding indictment after the killings of both Michael Brown and Eric Garner, the drummer took to Instagram to encourage fellow artists to use their music as a means of activism.
He acknowledges the threat of backlash that singers like the Dixie Chicks' Natalie Maines experienced for speaking out on divisive issues, but maintains that it is imperative to make protests heard through song.
"I'm kinda/sorta addressing the hip hop nation," he said in the Instragam post, but goes on to extend the call. "I really apply this challenge to ALL artists. We need new Dylans. New Public Enemys. New Simones. New De La Roachas. New ideas!"
And what is Quest looking for in a new wave of protest songs? "I mean real stories. Real narratives. Songs with spirit in them. Songs with solutions. Songs with questions," the statement continues. "Protest songs don't have to be boring or non danceable or ready made for the next Olympics. They just have to speak truth."
You can read the message in its entirety below.
I urge and challenge musicians and artists alike to push themselves to be a voice of the times that we live in. I know that many see what happened to Dixie Chicks' Natalie Maines (she bravely expressed her opinion/dismay on the Bush administration declaring war & was unjustly targeted....while in hindsight being CORRECT) suddenly there was an onslaught of radio silence from artists across the board (correction not everyone was silent, but the silence was deafening) although I'm kinda/sorta addressing the hip hop nation I really apply this challenge to ALL artists. We need new Dylans. New Public Enemys. New Simones. New De La Roachas. New ideas!
But it just doesn't stop there!! We need outlets (hello #ClearChannel #RadioOne #Vh1) to balance the system. Yeah I'm just as guilty of feeling the high of all that I despise ("Devil's Pie" D'angelo) but the reason why this nation seems to be moving 3 steps ahead in some areas.....but then 7 steps backwards in every area is a lack of balance.
I'm not saying every song gotta be "Fight The Power" but in times like these we need to be more community minded (taking a wild guess that "urban radio's" format didn't change much from the pre program stuff (using that word *politely*) we've been hearing for years. & when I say challenge I don't mean breathless race to the finish on who makes the more banging "Fuck Tha Police" sequel. I mean real stories. Real narratives. Songs with spirit in them. Songs with solutions. Songs with questions. Protest songs don't have to be boring or non danceable or ready made for the next Olympics. They just have to speak truth.
I laugh & have fun w "Bitch You Guessed It" like everyone else. But my soul is aching man. Seriously just ONE or Two songs that change the course. This is something I feel the need and urgency to put out there. #EricGarner #MikeBrown #JusticeForAll #FeedMySoul #HandsUpDontShoot #ICantBreathe