A re-writing of Woody Guthrie’s iconic song This Land is Your Land by Brooklyn – based, musician Liz Vice . These alternative lyrics do not come as an opposition to the original ones. On the contrary, they form an addition, a continuation of the effort to shed light to the complex American History and its roots.
It is always important to consider and check who speaks and why. Because it has not been uncommon that racist and even fascist voices have been allowed to flourish under the ‘Freedom of Speech’ argument. I think USA knows that too well by now. Let us remember though, hatred and exclusionary narratives were never part of free speech, if anything they pose a great danger to it.
Building inclusive platforms and pushing forward the voices of marginalised populations who have for years been ignored and listening to tell their side of their story, is moving forward. The politics of speaking and the politics of listening (and understanding) is a task that we should take seriously, if we want to build societies of free, critically -thinking, progressive people.
I’d like to think this version as is being in conversation with the original one. A decolonial discussion in the form of a song. Actually, it’s more than a song, it’s praxis.
As the artist explains:
Aug 10th, 2018. I sat down and re-wrote lyrics of Woody Guthrie’s song “This Land Is Your Land” with my friends Paul Zach and Orlando Palmer just one day shy of the Unite The Right Rally one year anniversary. The purpose was to write lyrics that told the origin story of America. There are a lot of reasons to celebrate being American but one thing that must first be talked about is the history. Healing can’t begin without first acknowledge the gapping wound created by the colonization, the mass genocide of the Indigenous people, and the enslavement of African slaves. There is still much work to be done.
You will see for yourselves, that the song is only the beginning when getting to know the incredible world, musical and social, that Liz has embedded herself into. Get to know the artist and her inspired work through her website.