In the old days of music, musicians were social commentators. Bob Dylan, Peter Paul and Mary, Joan Baez- they all wrote about war and peace. The Staples Singers- wrote and performed about civil rights. Now there doesn’t seem to be much of that going around!
In 2007, Charles Barkley made a Nike commercial that said: “I am not a role model.”He suggested that teachers and policemen should be role models. Unfortunately, he was wrong. Kids live up to their heros and their heroes are musicians and athletes. But nobody seems to be addressing this in 2012.
BUT WAIT………….. In this weeks Sports Illustrated, there is an article about a University of Virginia football player who risks his whole career to go on a hunger strike to show solidarity with university employees who are not getting a living wage. His upbringing was inspiring. Homeless at times, his mother still instilled in him the drive to help others. This guy is a role model!!! Michael Jordan should read this article. The article explores the history of protest in sports, starting with John Carlos and Tommie Smith, who raised black gloved hands in the air during the playing of the National Anthem after winning medals in the Olympics in Mexico City in 1968 and continuing through Muhammed Ali giving up his heavyweight championship belt and going to jail to protest the war in Viet Nam.
But through this, most musicians, (Except for Bono) have stayed mostly quiet, taking their money home with them and buying cars and bling. They have the most hold on the younger generation- they should write something for people to get behind.