9 Powerful Protest Songs That Changed the World

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Music is a universal language that defies international borders and celebrates diverse cultures. It conjures feelings no other medium can, stirring up physical and emotional reactions that can change our thoughts, beliefs and actions. It helps us express ourselves on deeper levels and taps into a part of the human condition that motivates us to make a difference. Music isn’t just enjoyable — it’s immensely powerful, and that’s a key reason why we use it to send messages and inspire action.  

Because of this power, protests and music are often interlinked. In addition to “amplifying the words” in songs that can represent demands for change, Columbia University music professor Mariusz Kozak told The Washington Post, “music is important for expressing political messages because it creates a sense of emotional connection and social coherence, even among strangers.” It’s that social coherence — the working together — that can really change the world. And these powerful protest songs demonstrate exactly how.