During the civil rights movement, Pete Seeger’s “We Shall Overcome,” Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind,” and Buffy Sainte-Marie’s “Universal Soldier” sparked white and some black antiwar and anti-segregation sentiment. These are the songs that we tie, rightfully, to the movement. Yet it was the driving, ecstatic harmonies of Martha Reeves and the Vandellas and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles that spoke most directly to the power of black music and black art, and it was the sounds of “sweet soul music” that drove the black movements forward. It’s upon these foundations that this week’s mix, People Get Ready, is built.
One might think that it makes sense for activists to “stay in their lane,” so to speak. Antirape activists over here. Antiracism activists over there. White women over there. Black men over here. Black women forced to choose sides or try to make it to both if their schedules allow. However, these so-called lanes are really anything but parallel. They exist in not only a tangled network of ideologies, but also a history that so severely enmeshes rape and race that it is difficult, nay impossible, to isolate one from the other.