Masters Thesis

There is a message in the music: an examination of soul music as protest discourse

This research examines the synergistic relationship between popular music and culture. More specifically the research posits soul music produced by various artists during the late 1960s through the early 1970s conveyed lyrics that were viewed as social statements as well as calls for social justice. As soul music began to take form and flood the airwaves during the Black Power Era, a small but committed group of musicians and singers felt obligated to create music that was transformative as well as entertaining. Within a five-year period, roughly from 1967-1972, soul music became a purposeful vehicle for social protest discourse. Within this examination of soul music, the lyrics of five songs were also critically evaluated as well as the voices of the artists who created them. With its dynamic, funky, and multilayered sound, soul music stressed the importance of pursuing political, social, and economic autonomy in American society.