FreQ Nasty – #Loveistheonlyanswer
Today we celebrate the legacy of Dr. King (MLK), a towering figure in world history who changed the very nature of how we think about our shared humanity. As music fans, we understand the deep connection that all human beings share regardless of race, gender, religion or sexual orientation. We can feel that connection on the dancefloor and in the music we listen to that is created by music producers of many and varied racial backgrounds. But it was only a few short decades ago when the reality of our human equality was not only not deemed self-evident, but openly repressed by the prevailing culture. Millions of African American people (alongside many other non-white people) in the US and around the world suffered at the hands of a virulent culture of racism, its iniquities openly and legally enforced. As one of the foremost leaders of the Civil rights movement in the US in the 1950s and 60s Dr. Martin Luther King lead an ethical and often times literal battle that began to shake the foundations of centuries of systemic racism with a deeply spiritual approach to political protest known as ‘non-violent resistance. Whilst the fight for lived day-to-day equality for people of color clearly continues and progress often feels limited, it was at this time that MLK made previously unthinkable gains both legally and in the minds and hearts of the people of the US and around the world.
So far this is all well-known and commonly accepted history. But what is less well known is that MLK’s inspiration for this movement came not just from another country but from another faith, another social movement. It was Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violent resistance that contributed to the British colonialists being ousted from India in the middle of the last century that inspired MLK to lead the civil rights movement with the integrity, radical compassion, and moral power that he did. In fact, he went as far as to embrace the philosophical underpinnings of Gandhi’s spiritually-based social movement, studying Gandhi’s philosophical writings which deeply informed his worldview and approach to social justice. MLK referred to Mahatma Gandhi as “the guiding light of our technique of nonviolent social change” and described India as “the land where the techniques of nonviolent social change were developed that my people have used in Montgomery, Alabama and elsewhere throughout the American South”
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
By rejecting violence as a method of overcoming violent and racially motivated laws and politicians, MLK and those that protested with him fundamentally transformed the repressive regime that fought their march to freedom for the equality of African American people. By peacefully protesting in vast numbers, boldly standing for love, respect, and unity whilst honoring the fundamental connection between us all (including those that would violently oppose them) these champions of freedom made huge gains in the fight for freedom and equality. It’s a fight that is ongoing and requires of all of us an internal and external vigilance that commits to keeping our culture and our leaders accountable, in check, and on a course toward the goal of equal rights for ALL people of all races (as well as religions, genders, and sexual orientations).
“Love is ultimately the only answer to mankind’s problems.” – MLK
Music is something that brings us together and allows us to appreciate each other in a profound way. It gives us a direct understanding of the equality and commonality of human experience and the connection we share. It was MLK and his fellow leaders in the Civil Rights movement that set the country, and arguably the modern world, on a new political course to legally enshrine and accept the reality of that equality and connection. Dr. Martin Luther King was tragically assassinated in 1968 at the height of his powers, but the social reform he inspired continued to sweep across the nation and create waves of inspiration and change around the world. While there is still much work to be done to bring about true racial equality in the US and around the world, the memory of MLK’s powerful conviction and belief in the equality of all people, his love for all people no matter how hateful and wrongheaded their views and his demonstration that only love and peace can overcome hate and violence makes him an extraordinary voice in the modern world. He is a powerful example of ethical social change at this crucial juncture in human existence as we attempt to bring our world to a more profound and positive understanding and experience of ourselves and each other.
Across the history of modern music, musicians have used their art to catalyze social change and elevate consciousness. Bob Marley, John Lennon, Kendrick Lamar, The Watts Prophets, Rage against the machine, Public Enemy, The Sex Pistols, J Cole, and many more. I’m deeply inspired by these incredible artists. And in parallel, it is giants like Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr. who fundamentally changed the way we think about what it is to be a human being in connection to others, all in the most challenging and volatile of environments, that I find spiritual inspiration and energy. My new single #loveistheonlyanswer celebrates the great man’s legacy by sampling one of his inspiring speeches, giving voice on the dance floor to what we all know to be true in our heart of hearts. May his light and our fight continue in the name of love and equality until everyone one of us is truly free!
You can stream it here or download the mp3 or WAV here. Let me know what you think in the comments below!
FreQ Nasty is a Bass music pioneer who started out in the breakbeat and breakbeat-garage genres and has since traversed as far afield as hip hop on his breakout single ‘Boomin’ Back Atcha’, punk rap on ‘Hard Night Out’ with Professor Green, and the unclassifiable ‘Creator’ with Santigold and Switch. FREQ NASTY EPK HERE
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