The Anthems of U.S. Anti-Racism Protests

As the Black Lives Matter protests continue not only in the U.S. but in countries as well, creative chants and singing have kept kindred spirits united. According to Mark Anthony Neal, the Head of Duke University’s Department of African and African American Studies at Duke University,

”Protest movements look for anthems, particularly those that are sustained over a long period of time.”

Although top musicians have recently come out with anti-racist themed songs as show of support for the ongoing BLM demonstrations, rapper YG’s “F–ck the Police” (FTP) seemed to have made it as the official anthem of the movement. YG’s FTP lyrics convey the anger and frustration of the rallyists; including among white Americans who have taken their side in fighting against the systemic racism that has beset minorities for centuries.

To some though, YG’s FTP lyrics are too brazen as it does not take on the idea of tackling the issue of systemic racism with politeness: “Buy a Glock, break down the block;” — “let’s make ’em mad.” The concern here is that people spontaneously pour into streets daily, risking their lives to keep up the fight against brutal law enforcement actions, but without actually having a central figure acting as leader.

Yet the lack of a national leader could prove effective. Local BLM leaders have less difficulty in keeping the protest actions in their respective communities peaceful and protected against agitators.

Other FTP Anthems Revived by BLM Protesters

The FTP acronym also stands for two older protest movement songs.

One is “Fight the Power,” a classic soul written Ernie Isley and recorded by The Isley Brothers in 1975. It is more about keeping up the fight despite the forces and the pain.

The second Fight the Power protest song is by hip hop group Public Enemy, a power song released by Motown Record in 1989. The group was actually requested to compose a song for Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing” comedy-drama movie about racism, which was released in the same year.

However, the FTP version featured in Public Enemy’s 1990 studio album “Fear of a Black Planet,” was different in which lyrics center on how other members of the black community have for years, been trying to stay as uncomplaining as they can over issues of racial injustices.

”Yet our best trained, best educated, best equipped, best prepared troops refuse to fight”… “As a matter of fact, it’s safe to say that they would rather switch than fight”

Nonetheless, Public Enemy recently reemerged with a new single tiled as “State of the Union” (STFU), featuring GJ Lord and hypeman Flavor Flav. The STFU music video includes the footage showing how D.Chauvin of the Minneapolis force killed George Floyd in broad daylight and in front of many people.