Rise Up!

We mourned the death of Rhys Jones, Jamie Bulger, Stephen Lawrence. We mourned the death of Anthony Walker, we mourned the death of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, Millie Dowler. We watched in full colour as planes hit the twin towers, campus gunmen from columbine to Virginia Tec to Parklands High. We watched as far right terrorist opened fire in a Mosque in New Zealand. How long? We watch as Police brutality in America is taking the lives of men, women and children. How long? The rate of teen suicides is at an all time high. How long?

 We see drug addiction, some sell their bodies to maintain their habits. Young people dying all over the country at the hands of other young people. Knife crime is abnormally becoming normal. How long? We see party drugs, date rape drugs, the promotion of sex, we don’t teach love we give condoms and now we see an increase in sexually transmitted diseases and a lack of self-respect. We watch as marriages break down and this has led to the family unit breaking down which leads to community breakdown.

Sixty years ago, the baby boomers a term used to define the “boom” in births after WWII. They witnessed the deaths of President Kennedy, Malcolm X, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The watched as the Watergate scandal played out. The Vietnam War caused many middle-class students to demonstrate, they also began to question and even reject the moral principles on which they had been brought up on.

At the very core of all this was the hippie movement which originated in the San Francisco Bay area. They rebelled from the teachings of the church as they wanted to reach a higher consciousness by using alcohol and drugs without restraint. Some thought that LSD “put you in touch with your surroundings”. They went as far as to make a religion out of it. Dr. Timothy Leary was a Harvard professor who said “LSD is western yoga. The aim of all Eastern religion, like the aim of LSD, is basically to get high; that is to expand your consciousness and find ecstasy and revelation within”.

They reduced sex to meet the individuals wants and this led to a rise in single parents as sex was practised without restraint and responsibility. They used music as a way to get their thoughts and ideas out. One of the most influential musicians of the time was Bob Dylan. The lyrics of the song “Like a Rolling Stone” express the thoughts of many Hippies. They say: How does it feel How does it feel To be without a home Like a complete unknown Like a rolling stone?”  Drugs were also themes in many bands songs. Jimmy Hendrix’s “Purple Haze” is about marijuana. “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” is a Beatles song about LSD.

Today we are their grandchildren and society today is a consequence of their choices.

The war in Iraq and the threat of terror, the Vietnam war and the cold war with Russia. The lies that were told concerning weapons of mass destruction and the Watergate scandal. The referendum and the lies told to influence the democratic vote. Our generation watched the invasion of Kuwait and the Iraqi War. They still haven’t found the weapons of mass destruction that caused them to invade another land. We have a movement called ‘Black lives matter’ a sad indictment of the times we live in. Stand up to racism, Kick it out, and all the other movements trying to facilitate change.

Where are todays songwriters who will not only speak for their generation but will lead them. Who will expose the lies being told, the propaganda spewed out to control thought. The creative has always stood with a message that offers hope.

You may feel incomplete, unsettled and unfulfilled, with a driving need to fill the holes in your lives. This need may produce feelings of insecurity, and you may desire to fill that hole with whatever will put an end to the pain. Some try to silence the pain with whatever they can, alcohol or drugs, sex, or, a pattern of controlled behaviour. We need to remove the obstacles that hinder us knowing who we really are. We need to expose the shade.

All generations love sex, drugs and music and many musicians today speak out their beliefs to influence a generation.

As creatives during we have the unique ability to share our pain and lift others up. At times it is the right thing to share your struggle, to speak up about injustices as many artist did surrounding the Grenfel fire. People at times only need to know there not alone.