Creative Arts: Communicating Social Justice Through Music & Film - Essay Sample

Published: 2023-09-16
Creative Arts: Communicating Social Justice Through Music & Film - Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Music Social activities Movie Society
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 1001 words
9 min read


Humanity uses different avenues to show its influence in the proceedings of daily social life. One of the significant channels is the use of creative works. Humanity utilizes arts to communicate and inspire populations towards specific goals. Social justice movements stand as one of the primary beneficiaries of communication through the arts. Although many different genres of extends their influence to activism, the influence of music and film suppresses any other genre. A review of sample works from the two indicate immense contribution in the fight against racial and gender discrimination. This paper evaluates sample work from music and film to unearth their influence on social justice movements.

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Music in Activism

In 1964, America saw the release of "Mississippi Goddam," a social justice promotion song that drew its motivation from the 1963 murder of civil rights activists Medgar Evers in Mississippi and the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Alabama that killed four black girls (Henwood Para 29). The song’s writer, Nina Simone, used the song to present the grievances of Black-Americans concerning racial discrimination. One part of the song that excites my support for activism is Simone’s appropriate use of lyrics in highlighting the injustices. The singer technically rejects the famous refrain of 'going slow,’ supporting the wish of a majority of Black-Americans who felt the discrimination. The author sarcastically writes, "Do it slow!" to mock the proponents of gradual change against racial injustices (Simone 9). After its release, America saw the rise in the fight for constitutional reforms that would abolish racism. The killing of George Floyd, a Black-American in Minneapolis, has seen a surge in activism against racism, with musicians taking center stage.

The comments in the first two lines opened the civil rights conversation in the song. Simone wrote that “Alabama’s got me so upset …everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam!” This comment highlighted a series of incidences that ignited the stormy activisms in the country. Simone also writes that “School children sitting in jail” to remind the audience about the afflictions that African-Americans' had to experience despite their age (Simone 6). At the end of the song, Simone tells the audience about the long period that blacks had waited for the constitutional reforms that would end discrimination, and pleads with the regime to provide equality. This part resonates with activism that forced President Trump to sign an order necessitating police reforms in the US (Mason Par 1). The achievements of "Mississippi Goddam" in marshaling a pool of Blacks who could fight for their afflictions excited my conscience towards activism.

Film in Activism

Under the guidance of an English Television and film director Nigel Cole, the September 2010 movie "Made in Dagenham" serves as my activism inspiratory film. The movie highlights the 1968 strikes in the Ford car factory in Britain. Rita O'Grady, one of the characters in the movie, leads the mechanists in protest against sexual assaults and discriminatory pay system for between male and female. Cole’s presentation reminds his audience about the injustices that Ford practiced towards its female employees. A total of 850 workers, including 187 car-seat cover machinists, challenged the system by protesting against these injustices (Heald and McClatchey). This part of social justice work is significant because of its specific highlight on what any professional social worker would reprimand and inspired my consent to support social justice movements. A report compiled in 2017 indicated that about 42% of working women in the current working environment undergo gender-based discrimination in the US (Parker and Funk Para 1). Such reports led to the Equal Rights Amendments in 2019 that seeks to seal the loopholes causing the inequalities (Bleiweis).

Also, the employees' decision to use go slow did not only bring the company to a standstill but also necessitated the immediate intervention of Barbara Castle, the then-Secretary of State. This act defines my support for lively activism since it is the only way through which prompt solutions can emerge. The film led to the introduction of Equal Pay in 1970, an Act that outlawed discrimination on pay and conditions between men and women (Heald and McClatchey). The movie skirts around some of the political reality even in the current world. Given that a few women would dare to oppose their masters during the early days, the use of go-slows offers yet another lighter but practical approach that female gender can use to air out grievances. After watching this movie, this scene added to my inspiration in matters of equality. In case of failure of one approach, one can always engage an alternative way of attaining the necessary results.


In conclusion, as part of creative work, music and film serve as a tool for motivating aspiring activists. How these genres present their message does not only highlights the injustices that a group experiences but also helps the audience to reflect on the significance of the art to ordinary life. This reflection boosts the audience's engagement in fighting for social justice and connects aspiring activists with creative cultural works.

Works Cited

Bleiweis, Robin. “The Equal Rights Amendment: What You Need To Know.” Center for American Progress,

Heald, Claire, and Caroline McClatchey. “Did the Dagenham Women's Equal Pay Fight Make a Difference?” BBC News, BBC, 30 Sept. 2010,

Henwood, Bridgett. “The History of American Protest Music, from ‘Yankee Doodle’ to Kendrick Lamar.” Vox, Vox, 12 Apr. 2017,

Made in Dagenham | Netflix.

Mason, Jeff. “Trump Signs Order on Police Reform after Weeks of Protests about Racial Injustice.” Reuters, Thomson Reuters, 16 June 2020,

Nina Simone - Mississippi Goddam - YouTube.

Parker, Kim, and Cary Funk. “42% Of US Working Women Have Faced Gender Discrimination on the Job.” Pew Research Center, Pew Research Center, 14 Dec. 2017,

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