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Communications & Media
English (U.S.)
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Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions People Get Ready (Essay Sample)


Synthesize what you have learned about media and society in this course through the writing of this final paper about music and its influences. Music is a medium that has shaped the ages. As noted throughout your texts, social movements have existed and evolved through many methods and vehicles. Music is one of those vehicles and music represents more than entertainment. It has spoken for generations, and exemplified belief systems.
For your final paper assignment, you are to write a 4-5 page research essay (excluding cover sheet, appendix, and bibliography) that addresses the following questions and contexts. In this paper, explore the relationship of music to each decade from the 1960s through 2000-2010. Your paper should discuss high profile events or movements that happened in each decade and for each decade pick a song that personifies or represents the primary “mood” of the decade. In the essay:
identify events in each decade
explain how events are connected to what the song represents
explain how media outlets aided the song’s popularity or representation of the decades events
show how lyrics are used in the messaging (if full lyrics are used in the paper, they must be attached as an appendix and do not count in the 3-4 total pages)
help justify your opinions with a minimum of 3 outside sources other than the textbook and properly cite sources throughout your paper
utilize terminology from the weekly readings when applicable and properly cite sources throughout your paper and provide a references page
cite examples of how activism and social justice are exemplified through music
show how technology and social media influenced the listener’s reactions
The summary portion of the essay (perhaps at least 3/4 page of the entire essay) should draw connections between the decades and synthesize your findings. For instance, discuss what are commonalities of movements and people who are represented throughout the decades? Are these songs anthems for each decade or do the stand the test of time with other generations? Are there common threads that connect some decades with others?
Grading Criteria (Not exact, but provided as a guideline)
___/5 points -- identify events in each decade
___/5 points -- explain how events are connected to what the song represents
___/5 points -- show how lyrics are used in the messaging (if full lyrics are used in the paper, they must be attached as an appendix and do not count in the 4-5 total pages)
___/5 points -- help justify your opinions with 3-5 credible sources with proper source citation throughout and provide works cited page
___/5 points -- utilize terminology from the course readings when applicable
___/5 -- show how technology and social media or other media outlets influenced the listener’s reactions
___/5 points -- appropriate grammar and structure; college level writing
___/15 points -- the summary is appropriate length and draws connections between the decades and synthesizes the findings, such as what are the commonalities of the movements and people represented and addresses the question, “are these songs only anthems for each individual decade or do they also provide representation for and transfer to, other generations and decades?
Final Grade on Paper ______/50


Music and Influence
Music and Influence
The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines music as “the science or art of ordering tones or sounds in succession, in combination, and in temporal relationships to produce a composition having unity and continuity.” Music has been studied all over the world, and its influence has been witnessed and felt universally. Almost every person connects with music, and this justifies some people’s claims that music is the most powerful channel in the world. Powerful messages have been spread via music, and till today, artists are still using music to speak against certain evils of the world while others use it to celebrate love and other aspects of life. Music speaks to people in ways that mere words cannot and even today, musicians are still using their musical talents to speak against issues like social inequality, war as well as humanitarian challenges. In almost all popular social and political struggles, musicians used their skills to mobilize and encourage people to take heart and fight on as a single unit (Burke, 2014). Musicleaves a permanent mark indeed. In this article, different songs will be assessed and their influence in either certain social issues of the society or their relevance in the decade released explained.
Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions – People Get Ready
The Southern Civil Rights Movement went down as one of the most passionate and purposeful protests in the history of the United States. Racial injustice, as well as inequality, was the main motivational factor behind the Civil Rights Movement. Tired of being victims of white supremacist laws, the African American community joined hands and decided to ask for their portion of the society.
Curtis Mayfield saw this protest as an opportunity to speak his mind and encourage his fellow African Americans to take heart and keep fighting. Having witnessed the country adopting policies that openly discriminated against his people, Mayfield joined others in speaking their minds through their music. According to Ward (2009), “Mayfield urged his listeners to get on board the righteous struggle for racial justice.”This song celebrated the optimism that the African Americans shared during the struggle. Mayfield was also celebrating the faith and energy that Martin Luther King Jr. brought to the movement. He also spoke of his belief in the struggle and encouraged other brothers and sisters to join in. Lines such as “People get ready, there’s a train comin. You don’t need no baggage, you just get on board” called on to the African Americans who are not involved in the struggle.
Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On
The 60s were hard for the US mainly because many good promises were given but only a few were kept. President Johnson increased the number of troops in Vietnam and this was met with a lot of chaos by the people and the media. Richard Nixon became president in the US in 1969 and having been vocally against the war throughout his campaign, expectations were that he would recall the US troops fast. However, this did not happen, and the US stayed in the war until 1974 when he finally was able to recall them back home.
Marvin Gaye’s song What’s going on is a song that spoke against war as the only solution. While it was easy for presidents to declare war on other countries, Gaye felt that this was the wrong...
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