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Revolutionary songs: Living Colour

Here are 15 revolutionary songs that will help motivate you to do the necessary work towards systemic change.

We came, we saw, we marched and shut it down. Now what?

According to U.S.A. Today, over 2.5 million people marched for women worldwide on Saturday January 21. This direct action is a historic and record-breaking success. Now the real work begins.

As we return to our homes, families, jobs, schools, and communities how are we making an impact to create the country we want to see? Here are 15 songs that will help motivate you to do the necessary work towards systemic change. In this historic time, music is a tool, a weapon and a healer.

Related: Despite Pussy Hats, These Intersectional Posters Shined Through at the Women’s March

Janet Mock Uplifts Trans Lives at D.C.’s Women’s March

1. “They Don’t Care About Us” (Prison Song) by Michael Jackson

“Beat me, hate me
You can never break me
Will me, thrill me — you can never kill me.”

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1pqi8vjTLY&w=560&h=315]

2. “Born to Fight” by Tracy Chapman

“There ain’t no man no woman
No beast alive that can beat me
‘Cause I’m born to fight.”

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwEoQESeA9s&w=560&h=315]

3. “Alright” by Kendrick Lamar

“I’m fucked up homie you fucked up but if God got us we then gon’ be alright.”

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-48u_uWMHY&w=560&h=315]

4. “Lionhearted” by Porter Robinson

“They broke the walls we guarded but we don’t care about it. We’ll finish what we started. So promise me that we’ll be the lionhearted.”

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgKDu5pp_fU&w=560&h=315]

5. “F.U.B.U.” by Solange

“This shit is for us. Don’t try to come for us.” 

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wJGoRXDhaY&w=560&h=315]

6. “Killing in the Name” by Rage Against the Machine

“Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me.”

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWXazVhlyxQ&w=560&h=315]

7. “Cold War” by Janelle Monae

“I’m tryna find my peace. I was made to believe there’s something wrong with me (there’s nothing wrong with me)

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqmORiHNtN4&w=560&h=315]

8. “Soldier of Love” by Sade

“I’m a soldier of love every day and night.” 

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IR5_rTCi-Bo&w=560&h=315]

9. “Policy of Truth” by Depeche Mode

“You’ll see your problems multiplied
If you continually decide
To faithfully pursue
The policy of truth.”

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2VBmHOYpV8&w=560&h=315]

10. “The Mystery of Iniquity” by Lauryn Hill

“Do we expect the system made for the elect
To possibly judge correct?
Properly serve and protect?
Materially corrupt
Spiritually amuck
Oblivious to the cause
Prosperously bankrupt.” 

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUZzW3wQg7Q&w=560&h=315]

11. “Betray My Heart” by D’Angelo

“I will never betray my heart.”

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rejA6QRtrAI&w=560&h=315]

12. “Get Free” by Major Lazer

“Never got love from a government man.”

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytIfSuy_mOA&w=560&h=315]

13. “Revolution” by Diplo

“Don’t let them steal your light.”

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6dWxIR_HKY&w=560&h=315]

14.  “Days to Come” by Bonobo

“Move away from your western guns
Travel towards eastern suns
Far above all earthly goals
A pledge for creation’s soul.”

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vWRe5wCZnc&w=560&h=315]

15. “Cult of Personality” by Living Colour

“When a leader speaks, the reflection lies.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xxgRUyzgs0&w=560&h=315]

Share your favorite revolutionary songs in the comments!


Heather was born in Chicago and raised in Pasadena, California and proudly claims Oakland as her adopted home. She has a B.A. in African-American Studies from Smith College (proud Smithie), and a Masters in Education Leadership from New York University. Heather's spent the past decade working in the field of educational equity and advocacy. She currently teaches Child and Adolescent Development at San Francisco State University and manages a blog called What's Happening Black Oakland? She also contributes to Blavity, a blog for black millennials. Heather's committed to writing interesting and relevant stories that aren't being covered by the mainstream media, while straying away from the single story that is usually imposed on people of color. In her free time she enjoys traveling and going to live shows.

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