Music has long been drawn upon as a tool for political expression and the promotion of social and cultural change, from anti-war ballads to civil rights anthems and feminist country songs to anti-racist hip-hop.

Combining writing and singing, two teens from Cwmbran wrote the song Just Be You to celebrate International Women’s Day and raise awareness of body confidence and mental health. Part of the proceeds will go to the Go Girls project (see @gogirlswales), an initiative set up by Charter Housing and Bron Afon which aims to empower and build the skills of young women and support them to tackle subjects that matter to them.


Read about 16 musicians who have challenged sexism in the music industry!

Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls is a music and mentoring program that empowers girls and women through music education, volunteerism, and activities that foster self-respect, leadership skills, creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration.

For more resources on how to use the arts for social change, check out, ART BECAME THE OXYGEN: A GUIDE TO ARTISTIC RESPONSE: A Guide for Artists, Emergency Management Agencies, Funders, Policy-Makers, and Communities Responding to Natural and Civil Emergencies

Here are some of the boldest, strongest, most haunting or most toe-tapping and hip-shaking songs of various social justice movements:

  1. Billie Holliday’s Strange Fruit
  2. Rage Against the Machine – Killing in the Name
  3. Bob Dylan – The Times They Are A Changin
  4. Nina Simone – Mississippi Goddamn
  5. Kendrick Lamar – The Blacker the Berry
  6. Beyonce, ft. Chimamanda Ngozi – Flawless
  7. Grace, ft G-Easy – You Don’t Own Me
  8. We Shall Overcome
  9. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Ohio
  10. Sex Pistols – God Save the Queen
  11. Public Enemy – Fight the Power
  12. Christina Aguilera – Beautiful
  13. John Lennon – Give Peace a Chance
  14. Marlo Thomas – Free to Be You and Me
  15. And…? What’s your favorite activist song?
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