Music, Expression, Responding to Current Events, Trayvon Martin, & National Music Standards

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You Are Here:, Contemporary Issues, curriculum, listening, music education, pedagogy, policy, popular culture, popular music, socio-cultural IssuesMusic, Expression, Responding to Current Events, Trayvon Martin, & National Music Standards

Music plays numerous important functions in society and as part of the human experience. Merriam (1964), for instance, outlines 10 functions of music.

Several functions of music apply to the role that music can play in responding to current events, such as the death of Trayvon Martin, recent acquittal of George Zimmerman and related issues. The following four functions of music hold particular relevance in this context:

Emotional expression (including the opportunity to provide people with a variety of emotional expressions) p. 222
Communication
Physical response
Symbolic representation

The connection between music, society, current events, and these functions of music in society could be made more explicitly in the proposed draft of music standards if the process component “connecting” was included. The current draft of the proposed music excludes “connecting” as a process component.

Consider how music education could contextualize a current event such as the recent trial, the situation itself, and varied perspectives in society connected to related issues in terms of the roles that music might play in response. This is still possible with the proposed standards, however, emphasizing connecting could make such approaches more explicit and on par with other ways of knowing and engaging with music. Similarly, considering functions of music in society could help expand beyond a discrete or compartmentalized approach to teaching “elements” of music.

Consider how an essential or driving question such as: How do people respond to current events or complex issues in society through music?
More specifically in this case: How might people respond to the death of Trayvon Martin, Stand Your Ground Laws, the notion of racial profiling, the Zimmerman Trial, the notion of justice etc. through music?

This could combine aspects of listening, responding, performing, creating, analyzing, interpreting, connecting etc. It could also include discussion of the context in which music is produced, shared, and additional issues such as the line between expressing one’s perspectives on a highly emotional event and exploiting such a situation for one’s own gain.

Whatever one’s perspective on the case, the focus here is on the functions and roles that music can play in responding to events and issues and aspects of the music related to those functions and roles.

That musicians respond to current events, such as the death of Trayvon Martin and related events or issues is evident in the music emerging since Trayvon Martin was killed and continuing through Zimmerman’s acquittal. I have included some examples below. The body of music related to this current event and moment in US history will likely grow and broaden in terms of genre: (some of the content contains explicit language)

Justice if you’re 17 – Wyclef Jean

I am Trayvon Martin – Bizzy Crook

Triggerman – Raheem DeVaughn

Beyond Trayvon – Public Enemy

We Are Trayvon Martin – Plies

Trayvon Martin – Lil Scrappy

Stand Your Ground – Pharoahe Monch

It’s a cold World – Young Jeezy

Made You Die – Yasiin Bey, Dead Prez, Mikeflo

Everybody Knows (for Trayvon Martin) – Hurray for the Riff Raff

The Ballad of Trayvon Martin – Will Hoge

Put Your Hoodies On [4 Trayvon] – Steel Pulse

Hoodiez – Willie D, Scarface, Propain, D Boi

Wit My Hoodie On (Trayvon Martin Tribute) – Los

Trayvon – Jasiri X

Hoodie Up – Chris Classic

The Victims Anthem – Dequina & Robbie (Music starts at 1:00)

Trayvon Martin Tribute Song -TMtributesong

I Am a Trayvon Martin Tribute Song – Ms. Kenya feat J-Dawg & K-Rino

I Am Trayvon Martin – LA Truth

Letter to George Zimmerman – Young Markk

Let Me Live (Trayvon Martin Tribute) – Young Thug

Trayvon Martin Tribute Song – Kumari D’Shay

I Am Trayvon Martin – Leericole

Public Enemy (RIP Trayvon Martin) – Black Dave

Trayvon Martin Tribute Song – TurboT Ft $upreme Geronimo

17 and Unarmed (Trayvon Martin R.I.P.) – Yellow and MacRo

Skittle and Some Ice Tea – Klaye Creation

Trayvon Martin Song (Tribute) – The Worldnews Rapper

Love Lost Hurt (RIP Trayvon Martin) – Kym Zimmerman

I Am Trayvon Martin – Scudda Caz

Trayvon Martin a Tribute Song – RJ Haze

Super Life (Remake) – Chaka Kahn Eric Benét, Kelly Price, Kenny Latimore, Angela Bassett, Courtney B. Vance, Terry Crews, Stacy Francis, Luke James, V. Bozeman, and Boris Kodjoe

God Don’t Love Me (RIP Trayvon Martin) – Mistah F.A.B.

Support the Cause – LegendaryKnocks

Trayvon Martin – YoungGottie

Another Statistic – Ace Hood

R.I.P. Trayvon Martin – Torcha Copastetic

Trayvon Martin – PyroTheGr8

Work It Out x R.I.P. Trayvon Martin – Kid V Music

Trayvon’s Song – MaddenHeiress

Eye For An Eye (Trayvon Martin) – Jon Burgos

Trayvon Martin Elegy – Marlon-Carey

Hoodies Up (Trayvon Martin Dedication) – Kountry Smoke

Trayvon Martin Tribute – Papoose

Burry Me Wid My Hoodie On – Deep Down

Somebody’s Baby – B. Blunt

RIP Trayvon Martin – Toast

They Always Get Away – Heit & Cheri

Trayvon Martin Tribute (Unite & Stand Up) – Big Reep

When Marissa Stands Her Ground – Christian Scott

I Am Trayvon Martin – Yung Wood

The Trayvon Martin Song – Yung Dreamy

Tribute to Trayvon Martin – Bee-Dee Swaggna

I am Trayvon Martin – Dreamstar

Hoodies – MARS

Suspect (Trayvon Martin Tribute) – Devanp3

R.I.P. Trayvon Martin [Tribute] – Real Young Sky

I Am Trayvon Martin – Carvena Jones

Parodies and Remixes

Asking All Them Questions (Trayvon Martin) (remix) – Brooke

Original Why You Asking All Them Questions? – SpokenReasons

Yes Sir –

You Can’t Charge George Zimmerman

Hoody in the Rain – Bran B

Trayvon Martin Tribute (Biggie Remix) – KOOL KRISS/TWINBREEZIE/STRIZZ-8

I’m on Trayvon Martin Remix – Heem

Merriam, A. (1964). The anthropology of music. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press.

Other sites discussing music in response to Trayvon Martin’s death:

http://www.nola.com/music/index.ssf/2013/07/pharaoh_monche_steel_pulse_new.html
http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/culture/2013/07/trayvon-martin-music-instant-protest-song.html

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2 thoughts to “Music, Expression, Responding to Current Events, Trayvon Martin, & National Music Standards”

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