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Voices of Rage

It's Been Said All Along: Voices of Rage

Hear about the exhibit

It's Been Said All Along: Voices of Rage

Hear about the exhibit
About the Section: Rage

For centuries, artists of all colors and creeds have used music to exercise their liberty of expression by calling out the injustices that African American people have endured. The ideology of expressing rage in music is one that can be misinterpreted. 

Black artists themselves were not immune to feeling the not-so-subtle rage – they, too, suffered racism within the music industry. The inability to dine, lodge, receive fair wages, travel safely or be admitted into the very venues where they performed, were just a few of the hurdles that racist segregation laws built.

No matter the opposition, these artists, including those of today, have expressed their undeniable rage in song – with messages of anger, love, integrity, authenticity and resilience.

Muhammad Ali and Gil Scott-Heron, 1977 Courtesy of Bruce Talamon
Muhammad Ali and Gil Scott-Heron, 1977 Courtesy of Bruce Talamon
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Pictured is boxing champion and activist Muhammad Ali and soul and jazz musician, poet and author Gil Scott-Heron, photographer in 1977 by Bruce Talamon.

Inductee Nina Simone after performing, captured by photographer Bruce Talamon.
Inductee Nina Simone after performing, captured by photographer Bruce Talamon.
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Photographed by Bruce Talamon after a live performance, Inductee Nina Simone's triumphant pose is the key art for the It's Been Said All Along exhibit.

Inductee Nat "King" Cole’s music was laid back and mellow, but his impact on the music world was anything but. He released hit singles that presaged rock and roll, all the while working to integrate music.
Inductee Nat "King" Cole’s music was laid back and mellow, but his impact on the music world was anything but. He released hit singles that presaged rock and roll, all the while working to integrate music.
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Inductee Nat King Cole photographed by Chuck Stewart in 1958. Courtesy of the Chuck Stewart Estate.

N.W.A. Jacket, c. 1999. Collection of Jerry Heller. N.W.A.’s single, “F* tha Police,” reflected the harsh reality of their neighborhood and attracted a level of public interest that even the FBI condemned.
N.W.A. Jacket, c. 1999. Collection of Jerry Heller. N.W.A.’s single, “F* tha Police,” reflected the harsh reality of their neighborhood and attracted a level of public interest that even the FBI condemned.
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Inductee Ice Cube told Rolling Stone Magazine in 2015 that “That song is still in the same place before it was made. It’s our legacy here in America with the police department and any kind of authority figures that have to deal with us on a day-to-day basis."

Spotlight On: Fantastic Negrito on Covering "In the Pines"

Celebrating global blackness, GRAMMY Award winning Oakland-based musician Fantastic Negrito blends blues, soul, and rock to underscore the Black experience.

Covering the Inductee Lead Belly song “In the Pines” speaks to the impact of gun violence that black women experience: “I loved how the song opened up with ‘Black girl where did you sleep last night’ [it] symbolized the loneliness and strength of this woman. I have seen this tragedy first-hand growing up in Oakland, CA where so many young people die prematurely at the hands of gun violence” said Fantastic Negrito.

“I believe all art forms and forms of self-expression shape the world that we live in.”

Listen to more of the interview below.

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Fantastic Negrito on Covering Lead Belly's "In the Pines"

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Fantastic Negrito on Covering Lead Belly's "In the Pines"

Watch the Interview

Take a Trip to the Museum

Induction Ceremony Performances

Watch and listen to artists performing examples of songs related to social justice messages from past Induction Ceremony performances. Join in the powerful anthem, “Fight the Power,” performed by Public Enemy at the 2013 Rock Hall Induction Ceremony.

Rock Hall EDU

Explore a video where Inductee Chuck D of Public Enemy and artist Jahi talk about how "Fight the Power" was written.

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Inductee Chuck D on Writing "Fight the Power"

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Inductee Chuck D on Writing "Fight the Power"

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Know More About the Artists

Explore the Hall of Fame Inductees that used their music as a platform for messages protesting injustice and fighting for equality.

Public Enemy Performing at their Induction, 2013. Flavor Flav at center, donated the clock he was wearing at this performance right after he exited the stage.
2016 Inductees NWA
2000 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Nat King Cole
2000 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Billie Holiday

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