The arts are a remedy for injustice and inequality because of their ability to raise awareness and consciousness--to take a problem and show an audience a new way of understanding or relating to it.
Pieces of art can also function as rallying cries--echoing and lending legitimacy to felt injustices and inspiring people to take action.
Let’s look at some examples of both of these ways that art can help facilitate social change in the context of racial justice. Authors like Toni Morrison, rappers like Immortal Technique, Nas, and Talib Kweli, and comedians such as Dave Chappelle and Key & Peele have each, in very different ways, communicated the ways that racial injustice permeates society through art. For example, Morrison, in the book “The Bluest Eye,” focuses on the way that African Americans have accepted and internalized white beauty norms.
An example of the second type, where art can act as a rallying cry for social change is exemplified by the song “Alright,” by Kendrick Lamar. The four word chorus of this song, “We gon' be alright,” became a mantra for the Black Lives Matter movement, uniting protesters as they strove for social change in police violence towards African Americans.