"OWN was conceived and created as the result of a mixture of emotions felt in 2016. For this piece, I chose four historical songs that touch on the poignant social justice issues currently plaguing America. Inspired by jazz, protest anthems, pop music, and prison hollers, these songs expose the historical theme of body and mind ownership in America and pay homage to the marginalized who fought to be “free.” All four songs, “Strange Fruit,” “Female Suffrage,” “You Don’t Own Me,” and “No More, My Lord,” were written before or during the Civil Rights Movement. Over half a century later, these tunes still ring true.
It is the year 2017. There is no justice for the unmerciful killing of black bodies. It is the year 2017. There is no justice for the victims of sexual assault while our politicians and media glorify the notion that women's bodies are here for the taking. It is the year 2017. There is an unjust percentage of young black citizens locked up in prison with little to no economic means for high quality representation. It is the year 2017.
Yet, music can turn this pain into beauty. Music can reach deep into the hearts of the suffering. Music can bring hope. Along with the protest songs that inspired this work, it is in solidarity with them that OWN reflects just how powerful music is as a platform for change."
- Amanda Gookin