XP 5: How do people resist injustice through music?
Throughout time people have worked to better their own lives and others’ lives through music.
- How can music have the power to improve people’s lives?
- What types of connections can exist between music, culture, and justice?
- How do people resist injustice through music?
We’ll start by exploring the song Strange Fruit and how people have performed the song over decades to address injustices of their own time periods.
- Watch this short video that gives some background information on the song Strange Fruit and what was happening when it was created and performed
During the 1930’s, Abel Meerpol wrote Strange Fruit and Billy Holiday performed the song to speak out against lynchings and racist violence.
- Listen to Billy Holiday’s version of Strange Fruit. Scroll down for lyrics and analysis from people on Genius.com (Warning: Some of the Genius.com annotations contain graphic images)
During the 1960’s Nina Simone covered Strange Fruit to make connections to current events and speak out against racism.
- Listen to Nina Simone’s version of Strange Fruit
During the 2010’s Common sampled and remixed Strange Fruit to make connections to these issues of injustice across time.
- Listen to Common’s version of Strange Fruit. Scroll down for lyrics and analysis from people on Genius.com
- Think about and answer the following questions:
- What message is Strange Fruit able to communicate (through metaphor, wordplay, tone, melody, cadence, etc)?
- How do different people express the message of Strange Fruit (through metaphor, wordplay, tone, melody, cadence, etc)?
- How does each version of Strange Fruit resist injustice similarly and differently?
Share What you Learned
If you are using the LRNG platform:
- Go back, find out what to submit, and complete the XP
- If you want, you can then learn even more with the optional “Go Further!” activities below
If you are not using the LRNG platform:
- Continue below and share with your teacher or organization:
Sharing What You Learned
- Write or upload a video selfie discussing your reactions to Strange Fruit and how music can resist injustices
Curious about learning more?
Go Further! (optional) Learn more about Strange Fruit
Go Further! (optional) Learn how others in the past have resisted injustice through music
Return to the Connecting Music and Culture Learning Playlist