BELONGING TO SEGREGATED MINORITIES.
ISFD N°18 LANGUAGE AND WRITTEN EXPRESSION IV.
PROFESSOR SAUBIDET, STELLA.
Belonging to Segregated Minorities.
Elton John, Sting and Bono from U2 are recognized singers who are famous not only for their unique voices but also for their commitment to human rights. These artists are extremely concerned about people who belong to segregated minorities such as sexual, religious, political or even cultural ones. For that reason, these singers are closely related to the organization Amnesty International, which is a global movement where people campaign for a world where human rights are enjoyed by all. In order to create awareness of this, the singers have captured these issues in the lyrics of three songs with the aim of transmitting messages and encouraging people to help and accept those who belong to these segregated groups. I am going to analyze them in the following paragraphs.
In the song "Where the streets have no names" by U2, Bono reflects how people are isolated from the rest because of their beliefs, religion or income. "I want to tear down the walls, which hold me inside, I want to reach out" (Lines 3, 4, and 5). These lines refer to the fact that in Ireland, many cities are divided according to people’s wealth, values and mainly beliefs. That means that if you know the address of a person in this country, you are able to know these facts. He wants to put a stop to the isolating of people who differ from the rest due to the standards established by society.
In "An Englishman in New York" Sting presents a harsh life of a gay author who moved from London to New York and reports his experiences as an outcast. This author, Quentin Crips defined himself as an "alien", "I'm an alien, I'm a legal alien, I'm an Englishman in New York." (Lines 9 and 10). This man was left aside for his customs and for his homosexuality. "I don't drink coffee I take tea my dear. I like my toast done on the side. And you can hear it in my accent when I talk." (Lines 1, 2 and 3). He felt like he did not belong to the American society. For this reason, he suffered. Although he was ignored by other people, he tried to be himself. "It takes a man to suffer ignorance and smile. Be yourself no matter what they say." (Lines 15 and 16). Similar to the other songs, this lyric reflects how people have been judged by their sexual orientation and how they are segregated.
"All the girls love Alice", written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, represents the tragic life of a 16-year-old English lesbian who slept with married women, and also who was unaccepted by society. This young girl was seduced by naughty ladies, they said that they were in love with Alice but they forced her to keep the relationships as a secret due to the fact that they had husbands. "All the young girls love Alice Tender young Alice, they say if I give you my number, Will you promised to call me? Wait till my husband's away." (Lines 9 to 13). Finally, Alice was found dead in the subway. "And it was only last Tuesday they found you in the subway dead." (Line 22) Like the other characters, her behavior was unaccepted by society.
To conclude, these songs are intended for people who think differently. The authors want them to reflect on how they treat and segregate groups just because they do not follow the standards established by society. Differences could make others feel like they do not belong to a group or even a place. However, these songs transmit messages to those who should learn to tolerate other people even if they have different thoughts.
Amnesty International (1961). Retrieved July 11, 2018 from the Web site: https://www.amnesty.org/en/who-we-are/
All the Young Girls Love Alice (1973) By Elton John and Bernie Taupin. Album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. Retrieved July 11, 2018 from YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=ea95D2VJ7OU
Where the Street Have No Names (1987) By U2. Album: The Joshua Tree. Retrieved July 11, 2018 from YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=4&v=3FsrPEUt2Dg
An Englishman in New York (1987) By Sting. Album: Nothing Like the Sun. Retrieved July 11, 2018 from YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d27gTrPPAyk
Bono Charity Work, Events and Causes (2018). Retrieved July 11, 2018 from Look to the Stars Web site: https://www.looktothestars.org/celebrity/bono
Sting Charity Work, Events and Causes (2018). Retrieved July 11, 2018 from Look to the Stars Web site: https://www.looktothestars.org/celebrity/sting
Elton John Charity Work, Events and Causes (2018). Retrieved July 11, 2018 from Look to the Stars Web site: https://www.looktothestars.org/celebrity/elton-john