A few summers ago, I created and taught a course to my high school students called Music and Movements. The course was developed around the ideology that every socially progressive or political based movement has its own soundtrack.
The music for each movement serves as a way to document the emotional intent, triumphs, failures, fears, and perseverance of its torchbearers. The rhythm becomes the inspiration that fights off fatigue, weariness, or doubt. This is as true for us today as it has been in indigenous cultures.
Words, Sound, and Power have always been key components of our weaponry against oppression and brutality. We have always been a “Blues People”.
We dug into everything from Fela to Bob, the Haitian Revolution, Chain gang melodies, Apartheid, and many other topics. The students were able to identify thematic symmetry and movement identity across the board. They also made connections to present day movements or cultural paradigms that demonstrated similarity and kinship. The movement soundtracks resonated in their own unique way with each student during our lyrical reflections period. Music always makes life make sense.
Bringing music of the African Diaspora into our classrooms is one of the most effective means of intercultural pedagogy. Music is our thread of continuity that weaves the fabric of diverse experiences together over a beat we can all nod to. We should be more intentional about incorporating theses ancestral, innately spiritual, rhythmic cadences that we all can identify with into curricula and lesson planning on a daily basis.
We as African people OWN our GLOBAL BEAT…so hold the beat steady.