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GET UP, STAND UP: The Story of Pop and Protest About the Program
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Willie Nelson
September 28 at 9 pm (ET) on PBS (check local listings)
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Chuck D
Go Chuck D, co-founder of Public Enemy.
Overview

''A pamphlet, no matter how good, is never read more than once, but a song is learned by heart and repeated over and over.'' -- Joe Hill, labor organizer and songwriter

Protest march against the War in Iraq
Since the early 20th century, musicians have come together in the name of human rights to fight war, hunger, corruption, oppression, AIDS, apartheid, and Third World debt. From single songs passed by word of mouth to star-studded, multimillion-dollar benefits, activists from Joe Hill to Bob Geldof have spoken up by singing out, drawing together disparate groups of people with unforgettable verse and universal harmony. GET UP, STAND UP serves as a timely reminder of the potent role music has played in a century's worth of political protest.

The program traces the birth of protest songs back to the American union movement and explores the impact of pop culture in politicizing the baby boomer generation during the Vietnam era. It delves into the history of politics and protest in black music, from the civil rights movement and pacifism to black separatism and gangsta rap. The music in GET UP, STAND UP is omnipresent, moving seamlessly from "The Times They Are A-Changin'" to "Power to the People." By weaving together historical footage and commentary from today's musicians and music critics, the program puts the power of pop into perspective. From the 1970s on, American musicians began taking on larger and larger issues in countries as diverse and far-flung as Bangladesh and Tibet. Benefit concerts and individual hit songs, including Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas" and USA for Africa's "We Are the World," raised millions while capturing the attention of billions worldwide.

Concert audience
Ultimately, GET UP, STAND UP is an investigation and a celebration, a reminder that pop can be so much more than simply "popular" music. Using songs as punctuation, the film chronicles the way music has been used throughout this century to convey social dissatisfaction, from highlighting labor unrest to denouncing terrorist attacks.


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Additional Funding for this program was provided by Dorothy and Lewis Cullman and the LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust.
Produced by: Thirteen/WNET

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