Songs such as "Revolution" by the Beatles and "My Humps" by the Black Eyed Peas resonated off the walls of the PARC at the Danieley Center Wednesday night. With students moving and singing along, these songs had an agenda other than to simply entertain: explaining the First Amendment.
“Freedom Sings: Music They Didn’t Want You to Hear” is a concert that uses music that was either banned or helped in starting social movements to illustrate freedom of expression and the history of free speech and was co-sponsored by Elon News Network.
The show was written and narrated by Ken Paulson, former editor-in-chief of USA Today and president of the First Amendment Center at Middle Tennessee State University, and designed to increase awareness of the First Amendment to a new generation in an entertaining and engaging way.
"Americans have used the freedoms of the First Amendment to speak up and demand change — change for equality and for all. Music has played a surprisingly big role in that," Paulson said to the audience. "Tonight we're going to explore how pop, rock 'n' roll and hip hop have shaped the world particularly in the last half century."
The band is comprised of Nashville musicians including Dez Dickerson, the original guitarist for Prince and The Revolution, Nashville singer Jonell Moser, Joseph Wooten, three-time Grammy nominee and a keyboardist with the Steve Miller Band.
Songs played included music from the 1950s to today's music, and included those that were involved with the Women’s Rights Movement and Civil Rights Movement, as well as songs that were banned because of lyrics that dealt with sex, drugs and political correctness.
Each song performed was preambled with a story, as Paulson explained the meaning behind the song and its connection to the First Amendment.
He explained how music has sexualized and objectified women for years. The band used songs such as "Jonny Get Angry" by Joanie Sommers and "Having My Baby" by Paul Anka as examples before performing the later, female-empowering anthem "I Am Woman" by Helen Reddy, to show the Women's Right Movement gaining speed.
About 150 students and faculty members came out to enjoy the social justice movement, while still learning tidbits of the First Amendment and how music has been impacted by it.
"I loved every second of it," said senior Francesca Collins. "I'm really into rock and the idea of them playing rock music — it was so amazing and there was still the connection to the First Amendment."