Black Lives Matter and Music: Protest, Intervention, Reflection

Fernando Orejuela (Editor) Stephanie Shonekan (Editor)
& 2 more


Music has always been integral to the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States, with songs such as Kendrick Lamar's "Alright," J. Cole's "Be Free," D'Angelo and the Vanguard's "The Charade," The Game's "Don't Shoot," Janelle Monae's "Hell You Talmbout," Usher's "Chains," and many others serving as unofficial anthems and soundtracks for members and allies of the movement. In this collection of critical studies, contributors draw from ethnographic research and personal encounters to illustrate how scholarly research of, approaches to, and teaching about the role of music in the Black Lives Matter movement can contribute to public awareness of the social, economic, political, scientific, and other forms of injustices in our society. Each chapter in Black Lives Matter and Music focuses on a particular case study, with the goal to inspire and facilitate productive dialogues among scholars, students, and the communities we study. From nuanced snapshots of how African American musical genres have flourished in different cities and the role of these genres in local activism, to explorations of musical pedagogy on the American college campus, readers will be challenged to think of how activism and social justice work might appear in American higher education and in academic research. Black Lives Matter and Music provokes us to examine how we teach, how we conduct research, and ultimately, how we should think about the ways that black struggle, liberation, and identity have evolved in the United States and around the world.

Product Details

Indiana University Press
Publish Date
August 10, 2018
6.0 X 9.0 X 0.4 inches | 0.45 pounds

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About the Author

Denise Dalphond is an independent, public sector scholar of ethnomusicology specializing in Detroit techno and house music. She writes about music and activism at

Alison Martin is a PhD Student in the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology at Indiana University. Her dissertation work focuses on the intersections of gentrification, race, and sound in Washington, DC.

Portia K. Maultsby is Laura Boulton Professor Emerita of Ethnomusicology in the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology at Indiana University. Sheis editor with Mellonee V. Burnim of African American Music: An Introduction, and Issues in African American Music: Power, Gender, Race, Representation.

Fernando Orejuela is Senior Lecturer and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology at Indiana University. He is the author of Rap Music and Hip Hop Culture.

Stephanie Shonekan is Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology and Black Studies at the University of Missouri. She is the author of Soul, Country and the USA: Race and Identity in American Music and The Life of Camilla Williams, African American Classical Singer and Opera Diva.

Langston Collin Wilkins is Traditional Arts Specialist with the Tennessee Arts Commission. He is currently writing an ethnographic manuscript on cultivation of local identity within Houston's screwed & chopped hip hop music scene.



[T]his book should inspire activists, scholars, and those who fall on both sides to conduct research globally on the topics explored, since anti-blackness is a worldwide issue. All people should know the depth of power music can spark in activists, scholarly and non-scholarly alike, and how music can mobilize significant change in the world.

"--Western Folklore


[A] book for our time that is right on time.

"--Journal of Folklore Research