Songs of Conscience, Sounds of Freedom, curated by the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles, examines the role music has played in informing and inspiring social consciousness throughout American history.
Charting a path from spirituals sung by enslaved people in America and the songs and sounds of the American Revolution, to the mass movement of music and art that helped to stir action during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, to the continued fight for racial justice in America today, the exhibit spans time and genre to tell the stories of music’s role as a source of inspiration and education. Songs of Conscience, Sounds of Freedom opens on Sat, January 15, 2022, and runs until May 8, 2022.
Songs of Conscience, Sounds of Freedom was first on display at the GRAMMY Museum when it opened in Los Angeles in 2008. In the 13 years since that initial run, the exhibit has been updated to include the Black Lives Matter movement, songs that fight for LGBTQ+ rights, and how music from artists like H.E.R., Dave Specter, and Mickey Guyton continue the traditions of using music as an agent and catalyst for social change.
Additionally, Songs of Conscience, Sounds of Freedom will include a newly expanded section, “The Sounds of Los Angeles,” that explores Los Angeles-based social movements and events that have inspired protest songs spanning a variety of genres and communities, the Chicano Movement that formed during the 1960s and 1970s, the 1965 Watts Riots/Rebellion, the 1992 Riots/Uprising, and the city’s history of poverty and economic disparity, gang violence, and police corruption. Featured artists include Lalo Guerrero, Mark Guerrero, Frost, Kim Weston, Randy Savvy of Compton Cowboys, Chuck D, and more.
“Songs of Conscience, Sounds of Freedom returns to the GRAMMY Museum at a particularly relevant time,” said Bob Santelli, Founding Executive Director and Exhibit Curator. “Although socially and politically conscious songs have healed and inspired generations throughout our history, it feels especially significant to showcase the power of song as a unifying force and agent of change in the midst of America’s current struggles for equality.”
Songs of Conscience, Sounds of Freedom will also include “Song Spotlights,” individual video displays that feature artists talking about a specific socially conscious songs: