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February is African American Heritage Month and WERS AT NIGHT is honoring one artist or one song every day this month that helped contribute to social consciousness, political responsibility, or civil rights. At WERS, we believe that these songs are always bigger than just entertainment; music can be used to drive a movement or even motivate a nation.
Today we will be honoring the Public Enemy classic “Fight the Power.”
“Fight the Power” was a revolutionary political hip-hop song. Chuck D and Flavor Flav addressed everything that was going on in the late 80s when it dropped and it found an audience. The song was originally created for a Spike Lee movie. Spike Lee was creating his movie Do the Right Thing about New York stereotypes and he approached Public Enemy to create a song that could be the theme of the movie. Chuck D obliged and ended up making one of the best and most memorable songs of all time.
Public Enemy always found a way to rap about conscious topics without being preachy. This song was controversial because not only did it address the mind set of inner city residents but Chuck D and Flav call out American icons Elvis and John Wayne. “Elvis was a hero to most, but he never meant sh*t to me you see. Straight up racist that sucker was. Simple and plain.” Chuck D made this statement about Elvis because he believes Elvis got his style from African American musicians and never gave them credit. Flavor Flav wasn’t too fond of John Wayne either.
“Fight the Power” sold 500,000 singles and spread a message of activism throughout the world. Not only was it effective in the inner city but people from all over the world could relate to it. Join us in honoring Public Enemy and their song “Fight the Power.”