When people relate to and identify with others perceived to be like them (i.e., insiders, connective marginalities), there is the potential for a united voice to be used to advance political agendas. This is evident in the Black American conscious rap marked and marked as expressions of anger and social discrimination (Motley and Henderson, 2008).
In the song, Brown addresses the prejudice towards blacks in America, and the need for black empowerment. He proclaims that "we demands a chance to do things for ourself/we're tired of beating our head against the wall/and workin' for someone else". The song's call-and-response chorus is performed by a group of young children, who respond to Brown's command of "Say it loud" with "I'm black and I'm proud!" The song was recorded in a Los Angeles area suburb with about 30 young people from the Watts and Compton areas.
The lyrics "We've been 'buked and we've been scorned/We've been treated bad, talked about as sure as you're born" in the first verse of the song paraphrase the spiritual "I've Been 'Buked".
Several other Brown singles from the same era as "Say It Loud – I'm Black and I'm Proud", notably "I Don't Want Nobody To Give Me Nothing (Open Up The Door, I'll Get It Myself)", explored similar themes of black empowerment and self-reliance.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame included "Say It Loud – I'm Black and I'm Proud" as one of their 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. In 2004 it was ranked number 305 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest songs of all time. It inspired the title of a VH1 television special and box set, Say It Loud! A Celebration of Black Music in America.
Let me further add, that it has occurred to me that as people of color we ain't really free yet here in the United States. Because to many young African American, Hispanic, Latino and Native Indian men and women are still either locked up, locked out or remain trapped in some form of substance abuse or addiction. - JD