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World Have Your Say :: Blog

The Universal Sound of Protest

Thursday, October 13: 9:30 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
"World Have Your Say" host Ros Atkins asks, "Has protest music disappeared?"

This week, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum was honored to host an international discussion when BBC World Service's World Have Your Say broadcast live from the Museum's Alan Freed Studio. The program brought together a diverse panel of guests, including Rock and Roll Hall of Fame President and CEO Terry Stewart and Rock Hall Vice President of Education and Public Programs Lauren Onkey, who traded insights with remote guests English singer-songwriter Billy Bragg, Egyptian rapper and poet Mohamed El Deeb, Yoko Ono and more. Host Ros Atkins posed the question that fueled the program's discussion: Has protest music disappeared?

"We had a spirited discussion about whether music can bring about social change," says Onkey. "It's a difficult thing to measure. The easy thing to do is to pull out a topical song, like an anti-war or anti-apartheid song, and measure it against whether or not something changed about that specific issue. But I think that change is harder to measure, and much broader and sometimes more subtle than that. 

"Songs can educate us about an issue or a point of view from the past – The Specials' "Ghost Town," Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young ...


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