Archive for February, 2010

Mandela and Biko (music and social justice)

Friday, February 19th, 2010

Last week was the 20th anniversary of the release of Nelson Mandela and so I found myself listening to the Special AKA song “Free Nelson Mandela” from 1984 quite a few times.


(Unfortunately I can’t find an embeddable version of the fantastic original video).

While that song is buoyant and energetic and new listens contain the additional joy of knowing Mandela was eventually freed and went on to have a strong and positive influence in South Africa it always makes me think of its mournful, (both in tone and in the story it tells), counterpart: Peter Gabriel’s “Biko” from 1980.


(some of the images in the above video are from the 1987 movie “Cry Freedom” with Denzel Washington. This video has the audio from the movie clips over the song. I recommend watching it as it gives an idea of how powerfully moving the movie was).

Steven Biko was a contemporary of Mandela’s and though both worked for the freedom of their country and the dignity of their people Biko supported non-violent measures of protest while Mandela supported an armed struggle (though Mandela was an advocate for peace and reconciliation after his release). Biko more the Martin Luther King to Mandela’s Malcolm X in a way. I remember watching “Cry Freedom” on TV and being stunned by Steven Biko’s story, his bravery and the realization that such conditions continued to exist at that time. I remember around that same time too the song “Sun City” by musicians who refused to play in apartheid South Africa. I know I owe a lot of my introduction to contemporary social justice to music and, oddly, MTV. I think it was a time of real social awakening for me, the realization that the struggle for justice and political action were ongoing, contemporary, active issues and not just a part of history like stories of Harriet Tubman, WWII or the American Civil Rights movement (how sheltered/ignorant was I, eh?).

kind of icky, kind of awesome (fat and muscle)

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

Since I saw this kind of icky and kind of awesome image at mc’s amazing fitness blog, begin to dig, it occurs to me over and over again and is actually a bit of an inspiration to get on the exercise machine in the morning.

Just because it’s awesome (Gotan Project – tango)

Monday, February 1st, 2010

This video inspired me to take tango lessons (with a well-matched partner such fun, fun, fun!)

The song is fantastic and the video is graphically beautiful and additionally awesome for having M/M and F/F as well as the more traditional F/M couples. Such a beautiful and sexy dance.