Researcher ORCID Identifier


Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Reader 1

Charles W. Kamm

Reader 2

YouYoung Kang

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© 2021 Jessica C Torrey


This paper aims to study a popular musical artist’s responsibility towards the empowerment of marginalized communities in the United States through an analysis of the songs “Freedom” by Beyoncé and “Americans” by Janelle Monáe. These songs will be analyzed in conjunction with the political climate during the time of their fabrication and release as well as the political climates discussed in the songs themselves. This paper presents a thorough analysis of the lyrical and musical components of both songs as well as an analysis of a specific performance of both songs. These analyses will be presented in conversation with many scholars and authors who have studied and written about the effects of music on various social movements. Insights into these components of “Freedom” and “Americans” will exhibit many ways in which both Beyoncé and Janelle Monáe have successfully used their platforms as talented and popular musical artists to address social and political climates that oppress marginalized communities, to take action against oppression and to empower those with marginalized identities.