Pursuit of Justice: The Music Edition (Home Version)

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What single clinched the No. 1 spot on the pop charts in 16 countries and became the No. 1 song on Billboard for the entire year in 1995, making it the first rap song to ever hold that distinction.

Because it was released in conjunction with the Michele Pfeiffer-helmed film, Dangerous Minds, this song reached a much wider and whiter audience than other hip hop of the era and introduced many white Americans to common feelings among Black Americans- being stuck in the situation in which one was born and having unequal opportunities.

Answer Video                                                      Lyrics

What song, released in 2019, tells the story of growing up in East Germany during the time of the Soviet Union? The band states that during this time they would use their radios to pick up stations on the western side of the border in secret. Their one connection to the western democratic world was radio, and those who listened would do so in secret.

As we see a tsunami of proposed anti-queer legislation- from banning books and outlawing drag performances to restricting gender affirming medical care, many feel queer culture is being pushed underground and these lyrics resonate:

We were not allowed to belong
Not to see, speak or listen
But every night for an hour or two
I am gone from this world
Every night, a bit of happiness
My ear up close to the world receiver

Answer Video                                                       English Translation of Lyrics

What song has been used as a tool in law school for teaching about the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution?

The Fourth Amendment protects Americans against unreasonable searches and seizures. This song explores the connection between racial profiling and probable cause in the legality of searching vehicles. The second verse of this 2004 release is based on a real traffic stop the artist was involved in. In the verse, the officer is quoted as saying,

“You was doin’ fifty five in a fifty four
License and registration and step out of the car
Are you carryin’ a weapon on you? I know a lot of you are”

Answer Video                                                       Lyrics

Originally written by an Irish alternative rock band about a terrorist attack in 1993, what song’s music video was banned in England and Ireland because of violent imagery?

This anti-terrorism song that decries using violence against civilians- and especially children- was banned entirely in the UK and removed from airplay by MTV Europe during the Iraq conflict from 2003-2011 to avoid “offending public feeling”.

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What song was written after the artist arrived at a hotel in 1963 to find the reservation they had made on the phone was no longer available when they arrived in person.

The artist and his group drove to a second hotel, on the Black side of town, and were arrested for disturbing the peace for being rude to the staff at the first hotel.

Since its release, this song has been covered or sampled by Otis Redding, Baby Huey, Ghostface Killah, Ja Rule, Lil Wayne, Bettye LaVette and Jon Bon Jovi, Patti LaBelle, James Taylor, Beyonce, Celine Dion, Jennifer Hudson, Leslie Odom Jr., and more. It is one of the most popular and enduring anthems of the American Civil Rights Movement.

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What song was written by a white, Jewish schoolteacher and union activist from New York City named Abel Meeropol, who was outraged after seeing a photograph of a horrific lynching in a civil-rights magazine. In 1971, Meeropol said, “I wrote ‘Strange Fruit’ because I hate lynching, I hate injustice, and I hate the people who perpetuate it.”

The song was played by many in the 1930s, but the version tagged below popularized the song. The artist had a contract with a record label, but the label refused to record the song fearing backlash from white audiences. The label did however release the artist from her contract temporarily so she could record the song with another label.

Answer Video                                                       Lyrics

What song alternates between a cheerful, joyful chorus and more aggressive, bass driven versus that represent the cyclical shifts in America’s mood when Black men are killed — a few weeks of uproar, only for things to go back to business as usual, with no significant changes being made.

When it was released in 2018, this song was the 31st song to debut at number one on the US Billboard Hot 100. It won Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Rap/Sung Performance and Best Music Video at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards and was the first rap song to win Record and Song of the Year.

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What song was written for and shares the name of the 1980 film starring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and the artist in her film debut?

The comedy film follows three working women who live out their fantasies of getting even with and overthrowing the company’s “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot” boss.

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What song about the unfair and unreasonable beauty standards women face was released in 1999?

Riding high on the worldwide success of “No Scrubs”, this song because the bands fourth number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100.

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What song was conceived at the request of film director Spike Lee, who sought a musical theme for his 1989 film Do The Right Thing and was then released on the 1990 studio album Fear of a Black Planet?

The third verse calls out artists whose musical and visual performances owed much to African-American sources but unfairly achieved the cultural acknowledgment and commercial success largely denied to their Black peers in rock and roll.

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What song is lauded as this artist’s first Civil Rights song?

The song’s upbeat tempo did little to temper the intensity of the song’s lyrics, which attacked the slow pace of racial justice in America, and the continued, centuries-long oppression of and violence against Black Americans.

The artist had already built a career singing jazz standards when she released this song in 1964. She had previously avoided politics in her career but had been building relationships with civil rights leaders in her personal life. She is now remembered as one of the standout voices of the American Civil Rights Era.

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What 1988 song is lauded as a new anthem for economic justice?

It included these lines,

“While they’re standing in the welfare lines
Crying at the doorsteps of those armies of salvation
Wasting time in the unemployment lines
Sitting around waiting for a promotion
Poor people gonna rise up
And get their share
Poor people gonna rise up
And take what’s theirs
‘Cause finally the tables are starting to turn”

Answer Video                                                       Lyrics

The 2016 BET Awards opened with a voice-over of Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 I Have a Dream speech then transitioned to what song?

This song serves as an anthem to Black women. Likening them to forces of nature, the song is a rally cry about the liberation of Black women, who have long watched their Black sons and daughters senselessly killed and saw little to no justice served. The music video featured the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Eric Garner holding photos of their sons and was used as a rallying cry during the summer of 2020 after the murder of George Floyd.

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