@joyoladokun

Catchy TikTok songs are tackling racism head-on

'Art in any type of revolution moves people.'

 

Trinady Joslin

IRL

Published Jun 12, 2020   Updated Jan 27, 2021, 5:05 pm CST

Over the last month, TikTok has become a hub for information on protests, police brutality, and the Black Lives Matter movement. The recent transition to activism has replaced dances and comical stories typically seen on the app. 

Now some activists are creating catchy songs to educate users about pressing issues—and dispel racist myths—in a new way.

One song by @joyoladokun, Vox first reported, calls out corporations for posting Black Lives Matter messages and then quickly going “back to enacting policies that oppress everybody.” 

“Graphic design is the cure to racism, graphic design it will make the world fair,” @joyoladokun sings. 

A duet between @rynnstar and @alexengelberg talks about the police system and crime rates. 

“Black neighborhoods are overpoliced so of course they have higher rates of crime,” they sing. “White perpetrators are undercharged so of course they have lower rates of crime.”

@alexengelberg

I love this song! Thank you for this gift @rynnstar #statistics #barbershopquartet

♬ original sound – alexengelberg

Others are more somber in tone, like Jason Nesmith’s song about George Floyd, whose death during an arrest has prompted nationwide protests.

“The blue man pinned him down, neck under knee, held the Black man ’til he couldn’t breathe,” @mr.nesmith sings. 

The 23-year-old told the Daily Dot that he came up with the lyrics after seeing a melody from @lynlapid. He translated the rage he felt seeing the death of Floyd and other Black people.

The video now has 1.7 million views on TikTok. Nesmith said the response was completely unexpected, and now, he’s finding ways to do more.

“I’m already thinking what other things can I convey through my music, what other things can I introduce people to or make people think about,” Nesmith said.

Kyla Imani, 18, wrote a song about the death of Ahmaud Arbery. After seeing the response, she turned the TikTok, which now has 1.3 million views, into a complete song called “No Humanity.”

“I feel like music is so powerful and it has the power to do so many things that sometimes social media posts can’t so I was just like, why not just turn this into a song and use it to help the cause,” Imani told the Daily Dot.

Imani is donating all proceeds from the song to Arbery’s family and social justice organization Until Freedom.

“When we’re out protesting, we’re blasting music,” Imani said. “Now is really the time for artists, influencers, anyone with a platform to just really raise their voice because art in any type of revolution moves people.”

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*First Published: Jun 12, 2020, 6:02 pm CDT