Lists, My Opinions

19 Great Protest Songs (In Light of Charlottesville Events)

In light of the events that unfolded in Virginia, here are nineteen songs that exude protest and activism that you may find inspiring or relevant in this moment. And it’s for all different types of fights and struggles that humanity faces, not just about race and what occurred in Charlottesville. It’s a very diverse mix from different decades and genres to fit all those who seek solidarity and inspiration in music. It’s crazy how long ago some came out, yet they are still incredibly relevant today. And some songs on the list may shock you, until you see the lyrics!

*some of these also have explicit language, but that just contributes to the anger and emotion that arises in the devastation. 

1. America by Logic ft. Black Thought, Chuck D, Big Lenbo, No I.D. (2017)

“Fight the power, fight the power. Fight for the right to get up and say fuck white power. Everybody come and get on, and get up. And no matter what you’re fighting for, I promise that it’ll live on. Like make America great again, make it hate again, make it white, make everybody fight, fuck that.”

2. Imagine by John Lennon (1971)

“Imagine there’s no countries. It isn’t hard to do. Nothing to kill or die for. And no religion, too. Imagine all the people living life in peace.”

3. Give Peace a Chance by John Lennon (1969)

“All we are saying is give peace a chance!”

4. Killing in the Name by Rage Against the Machine (1991)

“Some of those that work forces, are the same that burn crosses.”

5. The Revolution Will Not be Televised by Gil Scott Heron (1970)

“There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down Brothers in the instant replay
There will be no pictures of Whitney Young being run out of Harlem on a rail
with a brand new process… The revolution will not be televised.”

6. What’s Goin’ On by Marvin Gaye (1971)

“Picket lines and picket signs. Don’t punish me with brutality. Talk to me, so you can see.”

7. The Message by Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five (1982)

“Broken glass everywhere people pissin’ on the stairs, you know they just don’t care. I can’t take the smell, can’t take the noise got no money to move out, I guess I got no choice. Rats in the front room, roaches in the back, junkies in the alley with a baseball bat.”

8. Alright by Kendrick Lamar (2015)

“We been hurt, been down before. Nigga, when our pride was low lookin’ at the world like where do go? Nigga, and we hate po-po wanna kill us dead in the streets of sho’. Nigga, I’m at the preacher’s door my knees gettin’ weak, and my gun might blow, but we gon’ be alright.”

9. Fuck the Police by NWA (1988)

“Fuck the police coming’ straight from the underground. A young nigga got it bad ’cause I’m brown. And not the other color so police think, they have the authority to kill a minority.”

10. Paper Planes by M.I.A. (2007)

“Third world democracy. Yeah, I’ve got more records than K.G.B.”

11. Pyscho by Muse (2015)

“Love will get you nowhere, you’re on your own. Lost in the wild, so come to me now. I could use someone like you, someone who’ll kill on command and asks no questions. I’m gonna make you. I’m gonna break you. I’m gonna make you a fucking psycho.”

12. Fight the Power by Public Enemy (1990)

“Our freedom of speech is freedom or death. We got to fight the powers that be, lemme hear you say, fight the power.”

13. Where is the Love? by The Black Eyed Peas (2003)

“Overseas, yeah, we try to stop terrorism. But we still got terrorists here livin’ in the USA, the big CIA. The Bloods and The Crips and the KKK.”

14. Another Brick in the Wall by Pink Floyd ()

” We don’t need no thought control. No dark sarcasm in the classroom. Hey! Teachers, leave them kids alone. All in all it’s just another brick in the wall.”

15. American Idiot by Green Day

“Well maybe I’m the faggot America. I’m not a part of a redneck agenda. Now everybody do the propaganda. And sing along to the age of paranoia. Welcome to a new kind of tension. All across the alien nation. Where everything isn’t meant to be okay.”

16. Formation by Beyonce

“I like my baby heir with baby hair and afros. I like my negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils.”

17. Born This Way by Lady Gaga

“No matter gay, straight, or bi. Lesbian, transgendered life. I’m on the right track baby I was born to survive. No matter black, white, or beige chola or orient made, I’m on the right track baby I was born to be brave.”
18. Power to the People by John Lennon ()

“Say you want a revolution. We better get on right away. Well you get on your feet and out on the street singing power to the people.”

19.  Fuck Donald Trump by YG. Ft. Nipsey Hussle. (Part One) (2016)

“I like white folks, but I don’t like you. All the niggas in the hood wanna fight you. Surprised El Chapo ain’t tried to snipe you. Surprised the Nation of Islam ain’t tried to find you. Have a rally out in L.A., we got’ fuck it up. Home of the Rodney King riot, we don’t give a fuck. Black students ejected from your rally, what?”

 and  Fuck Donald Trump by YG ft G-Eazy, Macklemore (Part Two) (2016)

“What if we ban all the white dudes? Because a couple have run up in trench coats and rifles ad killed in the name of Jesus Christ at the high school.”


Thanks for looking through the list of songs! Hope you found at least one you recognize or relate to! Feel free to comment your thoughts about the events that occurred in Virginia in the thoughts below, and let us know how you cope with it whether music or some other way. Happy Tuesday, and hope everyone has been safe out there! 

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