When we look back to the historical moments of change, we see how people use their power as an artist. There was music, there were songwriters and there was a politically charged atmosphere. They used their platform to advocate for human rights, nonviolence, and a variety of other civil and social justice issues.
We shall overcome
Over the years the Queen of folk music and social justice Joan Baez participated in the antiwar movements, civil rights marches, and rallies in the mid-1960s. She becomes well known for her version of the song “We Shall Overcome” by Pete Seeger. That song grew into a protest song during Civil Rights Movement. She was only 22 when she led the crowd at the March on Washington alongside with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, singing that by walking hand in hand we shall overcome, and we will live in peace.
Activism shouldn’t imply destroying works of art
Sadly, we still must walk hand in hand to fight for change, for justice and freedom as citizens or artists. Nowadays, some of the young generations want to express their displeasure in a way that is, in my opinion, very quick and thoughtless.
In the past period we have seen attacks on art at museums and galleries es across Europe for climate change action which is an “unorthodox” action of activism. They want to spread awareness of the climate crisis, but activism does not imply destroying works of art in which artists have expressed their feelings and thoughts. We all share the global concern about climate change, but I hope that these attacks on art history will end, and we will continue to create more art. Music has the power to touch the heart, the mind, and the spirit, all at once. Why not use that power?
How to fight for change nowadays?
My fellow citizens from my home country Macedonia are trying to save our Youth Cultural Center (МKЦ) from being politicized. МКЦ is a place where everyone can freely express themselves. It’s home of every musician, artist, activist, and citizen from Macedonia and every other country who travels to visit us.
Young people are protesting by using their musical talents and willingly performing their own music to support the cultural centre that allowed them to perform on their stage and share with the audience what they have created. This situation is heart-breaking, but I am encouraged by how young people continue to fight for things that matter to them. I hope that people will support them even more and their demands will be fulfilled.
As the great composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein said:
“This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.”
I believe that the power of music will bring people together and that we will create change!