Skip to main content
Skip to main content

Soundtrack to Revolution

November 12, 2018 American Studies


Students explore changing role of black protest music.

By Sala Levin | Maryland Today 

"In a darkened classroom in Tawes Hall, students watch a video of the Sugarhill Gang’s 1979 hip-hop breakthrough hit, “Rapper’s Delight.” It’s a low-budget visual delight itself, with dancers in pastel bellbottoms and heavily feathered hair surrounding the New Jersey rappers.

"But in American studies Professor La Marr Bruce’s honors seminar 'Soundtrack to Revolution: Black Protest Music from the Slave Ship to Soundcloud,' the song isn’t entertainment—it’s text.

"The bright, bouncy track may not be everyone’s idea of protest music, but that’s part of the point. Bruce aims to teach students that protest music isn’t just 'We Shall Overcome,' but also the soundtrack for black celebration and joyfulness—a form of protest in a culture where simply being black is its own challenge, he said."

Read the complete article in Maryland Today. 

Photo via Maryland Today