For as long as there has been an established Government in place, there have been Activist protesting and denouncing its crippling grip on society. I am also aware that as long as activist have been marching, sitting and shouting for the freedom of all, Artist and their various art forms have been the first journalists on the scene giving minute to minute detail of what is happening around the world. I am not sure if activism inspires art or vice versa but one thing is certain; one is always a mirror for the other.
Whether the tool of change is a paintbrush, a Bic pen or a microphone, artists often shed a spotlight on the destruction that befalls us.
Diego Rivera, a Mexican painter and member of the Mexican Communist Party during the 1920s used his murals to expose the atrocities of the Church and its crooked Clergymen.
John Steinbeck, author of Grapes of Wrath used his pen to detail the depressing and life-altering journey from Oklahoma to California during the 1930s Dustbowl Migration.
Marvin Gaye used his voice to speak for a weary generation of people who were tired of being beaten and abused, tired of being ignored by the government, screaming out for an answer in the form of “What’s Going On?”
Both Artists and Activists have always walked hand and hand, willing to speak for the masses because no one else is willing to listen. They live among us and carry our message to the powers that be. Not always receiving a welcome or thank you. More often than not they are greeted with backlash and scrutiny. As the country music group the Dixie Chicks learned after speaking out about their disgust toward former President Bush and the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Rapper Jay-z’s song “Minority Report” speaks volumes about the lack of a response or support from the White House and former President Bush after Hurricane Katrina destroyed Louisiana and Mississippi.
It is amazing that as human beings we can feel powerless until we have that one weapon. That one weapon that once wielded can raise an army and destroy one just as easily. That one weapon of mass destruction, a pen, a voice, a paintbrush or YOU!