20 Songs About Equality

Songs about equality have always resonated with audiences worldwide, using powerful lyrics and melodies to challenge injustices and inspire hope. From Aretha Franklin’s anthem of respect to Kendrick Lamar’s call for resilience, these tracks underscore the ongoing struggle for equal rights and the universal desire for freedom and dignity.

1. “Respect” by Aretha Franklin

“Respect” by Aretha Franklin is not just a soul-stirring track but also an anthem that significantly impacted the women’s rights movement. Its powerful demand for respect and equality echoed the sentiments of countless women, amplifying their struggle for recognition and equal rights both within the home and in society at large.

2. “Imagine” by John Lennon

“Imagine” by John Lennon stands as a timeless ode to peace and brotherhood, with its lyrics painting a picture of a world unified, transcending race, religion, and nationality. Lennon’s call for global harmony and equality invites listeners to envision a society where people live in peace, sharing all the world, highlighting the song’s profound impact on promoting a vision of universal equality.

3. “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye

“What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye offers a deep social commentary on the issues plaguing society in the 1970s, such as the Vietnam War, environmental degradation, and racial discord. Gaye’s soulful plea for understanding and change urges listeners to reflect on what actions we can take to foster a world marked by equality and mutual respect.

4. “Same Love” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Mary Lambert

“Same Love” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Mary Lambert emerged as a powerful anthem for marriage equality and LGBTQ+ rights, challenging the prevailing homophobia within hip hop and broader society. Its candid lyrics and emotional depth underscore the call for acceptance and the understanding that love, in all its forms, deserves the same recognition and respect.

5. “Fight The Power” by Public Enemy

“Fight The Power” by Public Enemy erupted as a defining anthem of resistance and a call for equality amidst the racial tensions in America. Through its assertive lyrics and dynamic hip-hop rhythm, the song encapsulates the spirit of political activism and the urgent need for societal change, galvanizing a generation to stand up against injustice.

6. “Alright” by Kendrick Lamar

“Alright” by Kendrick Lamar has become an anthem of hope and resilience in the face of systemic racism, resonating deeply with the Black Lives Matter movement. Its powerful refrain, promising that “we gon’ be alright,” offers a message of perseverance and solidarity, inspiring those fighting for justice and equality across the globe.

7. “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga

“Born This Way” by Lady Gaga stands as a vibrant anthem advocating for self-acceptance and equality, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. Its energetic beat and empowering lyrics have inspired countless listeners to embrace their true selves, marking it as a milestone in the movement towards a more inclusive society.

8. “Redemption Song” by Bob Marley

“Redemption Song” by Bob Marley serves as an acoustic call to action, urging listeners to seek freedom and emancipation from mental slavery. Marley’s soul-stirring lyrics remind us of the power of self-liberation and the importance of fighting for one’s rights, echoing through the ages as a timeless plea for justice and human dignity.

9. “Formation” by Beyoncé

“Formation” by Beyoncé is a powerful celebration of black culture, feminism, and political activism, with its music video vividly showcasing these themes against the backdrop of America’s deep south. Beyoncé’s commanding presence and sharp lyrics serve as a rallying cry for empowerment, urging listeners to own their identity and heritage with pride.

10. “Sunday Bloody Sunday” by U2

“Sunday Bloody Sunday” by U2 vocalizes a poignant plea for peace in Northern Ireland, condemning the cycle of violence and advocating for human rights and reconciliation. Through its compelling lyrics and earnest performance, the song captures the urgency of the quest for peace, resonating as a powerful anti-violence anthem across the globe.

11. “Strange Fruit” by Billie Holiday

“Strange Fruit” by Billie Holiday stands as a haunting protest against the lynching of African Americans in the South, its vivid imagery and mournful tone capturing the brutal reality of racial violence. This powerful song played a significant role in the early Civil Rights Movement, bringing to the forefront the stark inequalities and injustices faced by black Americans.

12. “A Change Is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke

“A Change Is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke was inspired by Cooke’s personal experiences with racism and quickly became an anthem of the civil rights movement. Its stirring melody and hopeful message about the inevitability of change have inspired generations, symbolizing the struggle for justice and equality in America.

13. “Glory” by John Legend and Common

“Glory” by John Legend and Common, inspired by the 1964 Selma to Montgomery marches and the film “Selma”, is a powerful reflection on the historical struggle for black equality. Through its soulful melody and poignant lyrics, the song connects past civil rights battles with contemporary issues, emphasizing the ongoing journey towards justice and equality.

14. “Beds Are Burning” by Midnight Oil

“Beds Are Burning” by Midnight Oil delivers a forceful demand for land rights and environmental justice for the indigenous peoples of Australia. Its stirring lyrics and robust energy call attention to the urgent need for acknowledgment and restitution, making it a landmark song in the movement towards indigenous rights and environmental advocacy.

15. “F**k Tha Police” by N.W.A.

“F**k Tha Police” by N.W.A. stands out as a bold critique of racial profiling and police brutality, sparking widespread conversation and controversy upon its release. Through its unapologetic lyrics and aggressive stance, the song highlights the urgent need for social justice and reform in law enforcement practices.

16. “This Is America” by Childish Gambino

“This Is America” by Childish Gambino offers a multi-layered critique of gun violence, systemic racism, and the black experience in America, with both the song and its music video packed with symbolism. Its compelling narrative and striking visuals challenge viewers and listeners to confront the realities of race and violence in contemporary American society.

17. “Uprising” by Muse

“Uprising” by Muse serves as a rallying cry encouraging listeners to resist oppression and fight for personal and societal autonomy. With its electrifying sound and rebellious lyrics, the song captures the spirit of defiance and the desire for change, motivating individuals to stand up against the forces that seek to control them.

18. “People Have the Power” by Patti Smith

“People Have the Power” by Patti Smith embodies the anthemic belief in the ability of individuals to enact change and build a better society. Its inspirational message and uplifting melody affirm the strength of democracy and social change, driven by the collective action and will of the people.

19. “Black Like Me” by Mickey Guyton

“Black Like Me” by Mickey Guyton is a poignant reflection on the artist’s experiences as a Black woman in America and within the predominantly white country music industry. Guyton’s heartfelt narrative and the call for understanding and equality shine a light on the importance of diversity and inclusion in all spheres of life.

20. “Freedom” by Beyoncé ft. Kendrick Lamar

“Freedom” by Beyoncé ft. Kendrick Lamar encapsulates a powerful message of liberation and justice, specifically advocating for black women around the world. Its high-energy performance and compelling lyrics underscore the importance of empowerment and the ongoing fight for rights and recognition in a spirited call to action.