Soul Music: An Artistic Revolution


By Guest Blogger, Jasmine Hockett


The best part of a good movie is when an exhilarating soundtrack gets your heart thumping, your leg bouncing and the unexpected arrival of evoked emotions. There is something about the way an editor places music behind video or pictures to tell a story that puts us all in our place. That probably concludes why there is so much anticipation around the Academy Award for Best Original Score. Music gets our attention and elicits a story that we wouldn’t understand if it were left up to just video and pictures. As Kid Cudi once said, “This is the soundtrack to my life.”

Music sets the scene for us in so many ways. Before we are even drafted to the movies, we are captured by the tunes we hear in the commercials while we’re busy doing chores around the house. Music captivates us so much so that we run to the other room to see what the fuss is all about. The sound coupled with the imagery sells us!

In cohesion with this notion, real life experiences are much the same. When the cultural climate presents adversity, music is there to provide meaning or solace to an environment in need. Many artists such as Solange, Kendrick Lamar and the Bob Marley have spoken out through thought-provoking lyrical gestures. These expressions help us answer the call to recognize the revolution and manifest destiny.



Even more, it’s no strange adoration that we love when famous people step in to speak for the masses of the unattended or oppressed. We rally behind them as if we’re cheering for Will Smith on the movie Ali when he was running through Africa prepping for his “Rumble in the Jungle” fight against George Foreman. It’s what we need to maintain moral and motivate activation. Rather we realize it or not, it’s exactly what the Soul Music Revolution has done for us for decades.

Soul music produces such tempting sound that we cannot help, but to get involved. The artistic expression has helped many heal through the times of various political feats: Women’s rights, Civil rights and more. It has told stories that some wouldn’t have otherwise known. It has introduced the less-informed to the struggles and trials to be conquered. It has created soundtracks for the times to share with generations to come. It has empowered people to produce positivity and prosperity.

Often times, the way we identify with generational nonfiction movies is through the music. For example, Hidden Figures, a movie set in the 60’s utilized a time appropriate soundtrack so that viewers could feel present in the movie. This is exactly how many of us feel in today’s cultural climate. Our souls yearn for melodious sounds and vibrant lyrics. Furthermore, our soundtracks which include the likes of Solange’s “A Seat at the table” and Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright” will one day tell our stories to future generations.

In addition, the National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) is set to open in Nashville, Tennessee in 2019. In the same way that a movie soundtrack helps artistically capture your soul, educate you and call you to action, this museum is a living testimony of it. It will tell the stories of meritorious musical works that aided and continue to aid in the Soul Music Revolution. NMAAM (pronounced like NáMa’am) will take you on a musical score that you will thoroughly appreciate. After all, life is a soul music journey.


5th Ave Exterior

The National Museum of African American Music




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