Using Music

Recently, we critiqued and parodied Invisible Children’s use of uncritical, pat and peppy music campaigns. Their numerous musical interludes which raise awareness (though sometimes it’s unclear as to what we’re meant to be aware of), and they hardly ever critically address the issue. While the video of our parody, sung to Justin Bieber’s “Baby” seems to have disappeared into the blogosphere, IC’s most recent video serves as a pretty good example of their “well-known song + dancing+ bright colours – info and/or critique = inspiring video” methodology .  “Do You Whip Your Hair?” (which, incidently, can be found on our classmate’s incredibly awesome blog: ) has a lot to do with inspiring hair whipping, but provides limited information regarding the Invisible Children’s work and mandate.

Music is such an important medium that we began to wonder if we could reclaim it’s power for “real good” instead of “feel good.” Could we use it to  engage in a critical analysis of advocacy work and it’s inherent power differentials?

Enter, the magnificent Lucinda! Check out her spectacular rap about humanitarian workand critical thinking:

Excuse the poor quality, Transcript after the jump*

Ahem ahem I’d like to make a social commentary
please listen it will only be momentary generation next
I see you’ve got no time, please spare some attention and I’ll spit it in a rhyme

Humanitarians we respect a tradition
bringing us to our knees in submission
into routine we assimilate, unaware of norms that generate
violence that is institutional
violating rights constitutional
leaving it to powers provisional
our complacency is inexcusable

Be wary of knowledge easily digestible
representing truths often contestable
here I pay tribute to poetic predecessors
in whose wisdom I am definitely lesser
“shallow draughts of [knowledge] intoxicate the brain
[we must] drink largely to sober [us] again”
contention and reflection I am trying to bait
lest the routine of tradition it placate

Us ways in which we’re implicated so intimate
trick ourselves thinking privilege is legitimate
your desire for change I can appreciate
but think about the powers we may satiate; in the process
of directing good intentions
appetite for analysis deserves honourable mention

Encounter opinions that don’t agree?
make a collection of missed opportunities
brush it off like
dirt off our shoulders like
liability’s for someone older like
risk too great to be bolder

In compassion we lay our bets, even as our country send fighter jets
stakes too high (for us) to take a gamble; be aware of those over whom we trample
the West
shouldn’t be looking for damsels in distress
making men out of us solving problems putting us to the test

Respond to a world that is asymmetrical
without recourse to solutions biblical
try to take the place of saviours mythical

Come to grips with our colonial history
explore a future yet a mystery
it may be hard to bear
keep in mind that the world’s not mine to change
but ours to share

Believe that we have much to gain addressing
structural causes for the world’s pain
Move away from models of generosity
stay true to principles of reciprocity
From skepticism we will resuscitate
a movement burdened with historical weight
feel guilt for those we’ve come to dominate
let’s not dwell in the trip systems of oppression let us flip

Become an MC
to let you see with clarity
Connections we seek to foster
(to) restore the movement’s lustre.

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