Category Archives: Popular Music

“Waiting On The World To Change” – John Mayer

John Mayer’s 2009 hit “Waiting On The World To Change,” talks about the misconceptions of our youth generation who “stand for nothing,” despite our nation’s current social and political issues. Does John Mayer sing the truth? Whether you agree or disagree the song’s success suggests that people both willing and able to listen, and perhaps that’s the first step.

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Celebrity Activism Reconsidered

Celebrity Activism Reconsidered

An article in New Mexico’s Daily Lobo by guest columnist Jason Darensburg reconsiders celebrity activism. Take a look at Darensburg’s stance: Do you agree that “celebrity support can ruin a cause?”

“But does celebrity involvement really make any difference in what people care about? In a society obsessed with celebrity worship and showbiz, the answer is a resounding yes. The problem isn’t that famous people shouldn’t speak out about politics or social issues. The problems begin when celebrities try to speak for the people they are trying to help. This is especially true when they don’t actually belong to the group they claim to represent.”



Dave Matthews performs brand new song “Mercy” on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. The lyrics of the song carry strong social and political weight. What might Mr. Matthews mean when he sings “Don’t give up / I know you can see all the world and the mess we’re making / can’t give up and hope God will intercede” and “Mercy, will we overcome this?”


“Talkin’ ‘Bout a Revolution” – Tracy Chapman

Performed by contemporary folk artist Tracy Chapman, ‘Talkin’ ‘Bout a Revolution’ is an example of a modern protest song imbued with the revolutionary spirit of early activist music.

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“My President is Black” – Young Jeezy

The presentation and representation of black subjectivity in 21st century hip-hop and rap music tends to be problematic. While some artists continue to deliver the same politically and socially conscious messages of their predecessors, those shadowy few have become marginalized by mainstream hip-hop and rap. As African American music continues to thrive as an artistic outlet that fosters cultural growth and experimentation and allows artists to share their voice with a world audience, it is time to reconsider what exactly is worth sharing. Instead of spreading messages of racism, violence, and the degradation of women, contemporary voices of African American music need to come together like the generations before them to find a new forms and new sounds for expressing authentic 21st black subjectivity outside of the confines of the mainstream market.

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“Lady Power”

Check out Tufts Professor Nancy Bauer’s opinion on Lady Gaga in this New York Time’s post from 2010…

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2011 Responsible Activism in Media & Entertainment Award – Dave Matthews

The 2011 Jane Goodall Global Leadership Awards were presented on September 24, 2011. This year’s winner for Responsible Activism in Media and Entertainment was Dave Matthews. This award pays tribute to outstanding individuals who leverage their celebrity to advocate for sustainability, conservation and humanity in the spirit of Dr. Jane Goodall and her remarkable work.

Born This Way – Lady Gaga


Arguably one of the most influential artists of the 21st century Lady Gaga is an example of a new breed of pop superstar, using her celebrity and fame to spread powerful messages of acceptance, hope, and love.