Survey of Arts Management

Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014

Music and Ebola

Ebola has been everywhere in the news lately. From the nurse who took a bike ride, to the man in NYC who went bowling. But something interesting that we noticed in my anthropology class was the fact that here in America, instead of using the word “cure” like we want to “cure” cancer, there has been a lot of talk about how to “stop” ebola. We don’t want it here, so we want to “stop” it from coming here.

But what about helping to cure it?

This New Yorker article is providing a new spin and outlook on the disease and what the people living in these areas are doing to cope. ‘Shadow” and ‘D-12’ were inspired to create a musical tune about ebola when they realized that some of their friends weren’t taking the disease seriously. Some of the population is skeptical about the seriousness of the disease and worry about whether it’s a ploy by the government to make money.

Music is still being used to warn others and educate them about the dangers of the disease. This makes me think back to the Vietnam War and how music was used as an outlet for being honest about ones feelings. Perhaps this music will help to slow down the spread of Ebola by educating folks on the disease.


2 comments on “Music and Ebola

  1. evanjsanderson
    November 12, 2014

    I was just having a discussion earlier tonight about the cultural implications of fighting Ebola, and this brings it up in a very interesting and important way. There are certain ingrained cultural characteristics that have now become common practice in areas of West Africa that have made Ebola harder to “stop.” For example, death rites have now become politicized: African families commonly embrace a recently deceased relative and do not have as strict burial practices, whereas in America it is considered faux pays to even touch a corpse. Can you imagine trying to tell a young child he cannot hug his mother or father one last time before they interred? It is such a sad and difficult situation, and initiatives like this are one step toward trying to use cultural diplomacy to change the foundation of how Ebola is thought of and combatted.

  2. qfloyd
    November 14, 2014

    This is an interesting article. America doesn’t deem Ebola as a problem because they believe it. They want to stop it from spreading! They don’t really care about what happens in Africa except where they can strike oil and diamonds but thats a whole different issue.

    Modern American protest music started around WWI but have traces in music that is older like negro spirituals. I remember when 9/11 happened a a vast amount of entertainment celebrities came together to re-create the Marvin Gay song “What’s going on?” I’m unsure why protest music has not been as common in recent years when there are so many issues are going on today with America but it does make you wonder where people’s “fight” went. I’m glad Shadow and D-12 were able to continue a legacy and speak for what is right.

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