Martha Redbone on using music to challenge inequality

For singer-songwriter Martha Redbone, as an African American and Native American woman, inequality has been a lifelong experience. She sees music as an essential way for people to tell their stories.


MARTHA REDBONE: Inequality is an imbalance in the human system.

[Inequality is logo. A graphic black equal sign with an orange slash through it. #InequalityIs. Martha Redbone, singer, songwriter. A multiracial Afro-Indigenous American woman with long-braided brown hair, wearing a white blouse with a light green tunic length vest.]

MARTHA REDBONE: As an African American and Native American woman, I’ve experienced inequality my entire life, of falling in between the cracks – not being native enough, not being black enough.

MARTHA REDBONE (performing): What did I do wrong? They say I’m different. But why?

MARTHA REDBONE: I do believe that messages can be given through music to encourage peace and compassion among humankind. And so I use my voice as a way to educate people. We have to tell our own stories.

MARTHA REDBONE (performing): This is a song about how they turned my family from Indian to Mulatto to Colored in three decades in the same house, same people. God bless the good US of A.

MARTHA REDBONE: For me, it’s important to educate younger people to be conscious of this and to help make a difference.

MARTHA REDBONE (performing): And how can you be Injun? Your hair is curly brown. I’ll take this pen, throw it at your head and it’d better fall to the ground.

MARTHA REDBONE: The whole concept of ending inequality is much greater than we are. All the decisions that we make today, in our own lives, are not just for the benefit of ourselves, individually, but it’s for our children’s children. Inequality is a constant struggle. You put in the work constantly and you never let up and you never give up.

[Inequality Is Logo. Join the conversation. #InequalityIs.]

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