Free Your Mind: R&Bs Top Socially Charged Hits

By | 2009-06-02T14:23:48+00:00 June 2nd, 2009|Categories: Photos|Tags: |0 Comments

Covering everything from domestic violence to civil rights, these R&B recording artists made use of their gift to inflict social change.

In 1992, En Vogue, also known as the ‘Funky Soul Divas,’ took the struggle of being a minority in North America to the charts and won.

With the statement “Free Your Mind and the rest will follow,” En Vogue climbed the Billboard charts and raised awareness worldwide. As they say, if one person’s frame of mind is changed, mission accomplished — One can indeed inspire the hearts of many.

En Vogue, socially charged, singles

En Vogue, socially charged, singles

Covering everything from domestic violence to civil rights, these R&B recording artists made use of their gift to inflict social change.

In 1992, En Vogue, also known as the ‘Funky Soul Divas,’ took the struggle of being a minority in North America to the charts and won.

With the statement “Free Your Mind and the rest will follow,” En Vogue climbed the Billboard charts and raised awareness worldwide. As they say, if one person’s frame of mind is changed, mission accomplished — One can indeed inspire the hearts of many.

John Legend, Show Me, socially charged, singles

John Legend, Show Me, socially charged, singles

After winning three Grammy Awards with the 2004 effort “Get Lifted,” Philadelphia’s own John Legend put his newfound celebrity platform to good use.

Releasing the single “Show Me” in 2007, Legend took on a mission to not only aid in solving world hunger but to eradicate poverty through education, service and sustainable development.

Legend’s Show Me Campaign continues to aid those in need. For more information visit showmecampaign.org.

TLC, Show Me, socially charged, singles

TLC, Show Me, socially charged, singles

If not one of their biggest singles to date, TLC’s touching “Waterfalls” video is definitely one of the 90s most socially founded singles.

Artistically woven to showcase Chili, Left Eye and T-Boz’s talent but, also cautionary messages about practicing safe sex, staying in school, and the oftentimes negative result of taking the wrong path proved to be effective for the group’s following. Of course, this was the same group that gave teens advice on friends (“What About Your Friends”) and self esteem (“Unpretty”).

Looking back, TLC remained very much in touch with social conditions throughout their career.

Wyclef Jean, Mary J Blige, 911, socially charged, singles

Wyclef Jean, Mary J Blige, 911, socially charged, singles

Paralleling lies, deceit and an affair, Wyclef Jean teamed up with the Queen of Hip Hop Soul for the powerful record “911” in 2000.

Arguably a song that can be interpreted in many ways, “911” is one of the most powerful and socially charged singles from Blige and Jean to date.

Michael Jackson, We Are The World, socially charged, singles

Michael Jackson, We Are The World, socially charged, singles

Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones and a sizable roster of acts came together in an effort to aid African nations through a single record. That very record, titled “We Are The World” turned out to be one of the most successful charity/benefit singles today.

With the lyrics “We are the world, we are the children. We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving,” “We Are The World” ended up being an international phenomenon garnering an immense amount of awareness for victims of poverty and famine.

Since it’s debut, “We Are The World” raised well over $60 million in aid for countries including Ethiopia and Sudan.

Mary J Blige,One, U2, socially charged, singles

Mary J Blige,One, U2, socially charged, singles

No matter what race or colour we are, at the end of the day we all live here together. Why do we always have to wait for something like Hurricane Katrina or 9/11 to happen for us to hold hands or talk to each other on the train?, says Mary J. Blige of the hit U2 collaboration “One”.

U2 and Blige’s single hit home after Hurricane Katrina, becoming a song dedicated to hope, peace and looking towards the future.

Aretha Franklin, socially charged, singles

Aretha Franklin, socially charged, singles

When Lady Aretha, as in Aretha Franklin, breaks something down for you, you’d better listen! In 1998, the lauded “Respect”diva belted out “A Rose Is Still Arose. And she was not alone, Lauryn Hill joined in on the song that became Franklin’s biggest hit in the late 90s.

Starring actress Elise Neal (in the music video), Franklin’s video reached out to struggling young women, telling them “A Rose Is Still A Rose, baby girl you’ve got the power”.

To this day, “A Rose Is Still A Rose” ranks high amongst music enthusiasts.

Luther Vandross, socially charged, singles

Luther Vandross, socially charged, singles

Just like Aretha Franklin, Luther Vandross took on the struggles of youth in his music. Maybe not intentionally but, Vandross’ “Dance With My Father” struck a chord with families and men in particular.

The video for the single was and is one of the only music videos in recent years to highlight a bevy of African American male father figures. Everyone from Beyonce and father Matthew Knowles to Whitney Houston and late father John Houston were featured in the video.

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