With the movement for racial justice and equality sweeping the country, BMI songwriters are picking up their pens and calling for much-needed change through their music. Issues of social justice, racial equity, tolerance and beyond are being highlighted in powerful songs that are shining a light on what’s happening and resonating with listeners. This builds on the long tradition of music driving social change, from classic songs like “A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke and “What’s Going On?” by Marvin Gaye, to “Fight the Power” by Public Enemy and “Alright” by Kendrick Lamar, all which carry strong messages of protest and overcoming struggle and injustice. Today, BMI songwriters are using their talent and creativity to seize this moment, speak out and call for the change that is long overdue. Here, we are starting off with just a selection of those songs, with more to be added. Below are links to the videos, as well as a Spotify playlist with currently available songs.
Gospel legend BeBe Winans delivers a stirring look at the BLM movement, lending his soaring voice to a call for understanding and empathy.
Written by the renowned 78-year-old singer/songwriter responsible for “Some Kind of Wonderful,” by Grand Funk Railroad, John Ellison’s “Wake Up Call (Black Like Me)” takes a personal story and turns it into a powerful anthem.
12-year-old Gospel vocalist Keedron Bryant caught the world’s attention with his emotional track, “I Just Wanna Live.” Written by his mother, Johnnetta Bryant, this song that addresses social injustices landed Bryant a record deal with Warner Bros. This remix pairs Bryant’s vocals with beats and verses from GRAMMY-winner Will.i.Am.
“I Can’t Breathe” by recent BMI signee H.E.R. is a soulful and sobering look at the violent injustices endured by Black communities across the country.
Gospel singer/songwriter Deitrick Haddon recounts the murder of George Floyd in this heart-wrenching track, “I Can’t Breathe,” which calls for empathy, understanding and solidarity.
Meant to inform and inspire, Anderson .Paak’s “Lockdown” takes a stand with those participating in protests across the nation for urgent change.
“Song 33” by rapper Noname takes an honest look at the current state of the U.S. and the need for racial justice.
J.Cole’s “Snow On Tha Bluff” speaks to crucial issues of racism, activism, police brutality and more in this compelling single.
The genre-straddling BMI songwriter asks that we look beyond our differences and recognize each other as parts of a single entity.
The BMI singer/songwriter speaks to the pain of recurring injustice in an impactful, emotional track.
The rising Gospel singer/songwriter shines a light on the damage people inflict on each other in this powerful single.
An impactful call to action, “Stand Up” was created by Rage Against the Machine/Audioslave guitar hero Tom Morello, Imagine Dragons front man and songwriter Dan Reynolds, R&B singer/songwriter/activist Shea Diamond and Italian electronic duo The Bloody Beetroots. 100% of the artists’ proceeds from “Stand Up” go to the NAACP, Know Your Rights Camp, The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Marsha P. Johnson Institute.
A poignant expression of frustration, Atlanta singer/songwriter Shirazee’s “Tired” speaks to what Black communities face with continued police brutality in America.
Philly-born singer/songwriter Brayton Bowman turns an open plea for awareness into an R&B/pop anthem for standing up and speaking out.
The Pittsburgh singer/songwriter/producer delivers a moving tribute to the late George Floyd with a hopeful message of encouragement and change.
Listen on Spotify