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Trey Dailey Michelle Moore English Comp 111 10/25/11

A picture might be worth a thousand words, but it can not tell a passionate story or explain an opinion in detail. Words have always been the foundation of any political, social, or ethical movement throughout history. They have been used to persuade, sympathize, and motivate. Over time, language has evolved along side musical theory. The two forces have blended into a concoction of ingenious invention. They are used in two sets, the individual aspect and the group aspect. These ideas can completely transform each group. Words being transformed into music are the most powerful tool when it comes to shaping the human mind. Any form of movement through music starts at the individual level. Jimmy Santiago Baca wrote, "words gave off rings of white energy, radar signals from powers beyond me that that infused me with truth."(pg.391) Baca had sunk to the lowest point in his life while he was incarcerated. He had nothing in his life except for steel bars and time. After discovering the power of words he wrote "I became so absorbed in how the sounds created music in me and happiness, I forgot where I was."(pg.388). Words were able to transport him out of his cold metal cell and let his mind explore uncharted

realities. He was free to express any opinion or belief that he consciously or unconsciously desired to share with the world. He was free to observe sights and ways of life around the world that he couldn't of imagined. In a sense, the words gave him new life and changed who he was forever. He is an example of the potential that words can promote on an individual basis. Every individual presents different thoughts, morals, and beliefs. Words and music are simply an emotional release of these. People bottle up these thoughts until they learn to use the tools to share them with their peers. The tools invoke the thought of standing in someone else's shoes. They let people see a story through the eyes of another individual. After viewing an event from all aspects, one can emotionally connect with the feelings of the story teller. They are able to feel the teller's pain or happiness as if it were their own and they were living in the moment. They can make further connections and assumptions based on the emotions that the writer brings forth. The words can be crafted into a perfect description of an event while simultaneously revealing the opinions of the observer. No other source can let one see into an others mind with such ease. Even movies and television rely on narrators words to explain the deepest feelings of the characters. Sometimes sight is simply not enough to capture the full picture. Inspiration can be sparked by one sentence or with one song. Even the worst days in a person's life can be lifted through inspiration of the words in music. This is why music has been present for such a long period of time. People feel a connection with the words and the music that they can not experience

anywhere else. They represent a total freedom of expression that is slowly being pulled from the United States. They are one of the last remaining ways for someone to show off their individuality and ingenuity. Baca felt like a registration number sitting in a box like everyone that surrounded him. Every contact of his pen to paper released his individuality to the world. He was slowly dying inside and was brought back to life. Baca put it best when he wrote "The power to express myself was a welcomed storm rasping at tendril roots, flooding my soul's cracked dirt."(pg.392) Once a person understands how words and music can influence on an individual level, they can see how they can be applied to the masses. Bakari Kitwana writes "Before MTV. Before BET. Before Fresh Prince of Bel Air. It is difficult to imagine black youth as a nearly invisible entity in American popular culture."(pg.402) Black culture is a perfect example of how words and music can affect an entire population. Before this time blacks had no voice to speak up for their culture. They knew what they felt, but could not express it to anyone but each other. Rap music was the tool that they would use to climb to their position today. They put all of their bottled up emotions into the songs that they created. There are few if any instruments in rap, so they were free to tell their stories for most of a song. Censorship was not a problem, so they could tell the story as rugged as they felt needed. America eventually embraced the music which brought their culture along in the same bag. People felt an emotional connection with the music. They were finally able to feel what that whole part of society was living for so many

years. This was essentially a turning point for the majority of acceptance towards black culture. Words in songs were examined carefully during the years of the Vietnam war. The majority of the music was rebellious against the war. This was the first time that people were using music to its full potential. Most songs from the fifties and sixties were simple and mostly love songs or good-time music. With the war, they realized that their lyrics could actually stand for something greater than themselves. It was a way to spread their message of peace throughout the country and the world. Just the fact that it was music lured in a much younger audience. They could protest in their songs and not be completely disowned because it was freedom of speech. Many different groups like this have used this tool to better themselves and the others around them. People feel like they are connected with a person if they can sympathize with them. All of a sudden one person's problems turn into a crowds problems. As history shows, the power is in that crowd of individuals. The voice is much more noticeable when thousands are striving for the same goal. Music can bring all different types of people together for the same cause. They put aside what makes them different and focus on the real problems facing them as a people. As long as there has been sophisticated communication, words have existed. Great ideas have come from people who have used their words to an advantage. They can use them to conjure any emotional response that they wish. Emotions are the key to gaining appeal and strength in numbers. People do not always realize the kind of power that words and music can

create. The ones that do realize are the ones that use it to move forward.