Vietnam Music Monday: “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud”

Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud

“Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud” was released as a two-part single in 1968 and held the No. 1 spot on the R&B singles chart for six weeks. (Newseum collection)

Music played an important cultural role during the Vietnam War, representing the rebellious views of a young generation and the traditional values of an older, so-called “silent majority.” The Newseum selected 40 songs released between 1963 and 1973 that typified the music of the Vietnam era. The songs captured the emotions of people for and against the war and reflected the mood of an increasingly diverse country amid dramatic social and political change.

The 40 songs, part of the Newseum’s “Reporting Vietnam” exhibit, are a fraction of the hundreds of recordings that dealt with the war and civil disobedience. Each week, one song from the playlist will be featured. We encourage you to add your favorite songs of the era to the comment section!

Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud (1968)

James Brown

James Brown, known as the “Godfather of Soul,” was a pioneer in funk music and an outspoken advocate for black empowerment. “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud” was a No. 1 hit for six weeks. The song, released four months after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., was popular with African American soldiers, as the black power movement moved from America’s inner cities to the battlefields of Vietnam.


Now we demand a chance to do things for ourselves
We tired of beating our heads against the wall
And working for someone else
A look a’here
One thing more I got to say right here
Now, we’re people like the birds and the bee
We rather die on our feet
Than keep living on our knees
Say it loud
I’m black and I’m proud

Purchase “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud” on Amazon or iTunes.

“Reporting Vietnam,” a new exhibit that marks the 50th anniversary of the start of America’s first televised war, explores the dramatic stories of how journalists brought news about the war to a divided nation.

CBS News

Contributing support for the “Reporting Vietnam” exhibit is provided by CBS Corporation, in memory of CBS News correspondent Bob Simon.

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