Matthew’s Place
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Matthew’s Place

The Healing Powers of Music

by Ryan Cassata

There are some songs that hit you so hard because the lyrics are so truthful about what’s going on in the world. I’ve listened closely to the lyrics in these songs and chosen to introduce them here. A lot of these songs have really “woke” me up to the things that are happening in the U.S. and the things that are happening to other human beings that are completely unjust. Music has the power to open heard and minds. Music has the power to communicate truth and love. The songs below are songs that everyone should listen to and highly consider the lyrics. The lyrics are impossible to ignore which make the issues impossible to ignore. These songs are a testament to the oppression that people are still facing today in our country and around the world. Hopefully listening to these powerful songs will inspire people to wake up and rise up and start standing up for justice and equality.

The songs below contain emotional lyrics that address the topics of racism, gun violence, immigration, homophobia, sexism, bullying, and more deeply important topics that are very relevant in society right now.

“Glory” by Common and John Legend
Most powerful lyric:
“That’s why Rosa sat on the bus
That’s why we walk through Ferguson with our hands up”

“American Skin (41 Shots)” by Bruce Springsteen
Most powerful lyric:
“Lena gets her son ready for school
She says now on these streets Charles
You got to understand the rules
Promise me if an officer stops you’ll always be polite
Never ever run away and promise mama you’ll keep your hands in sight”

“What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye
Most powerful lyric:
“For only love can conquer hate”

“White Privilege II” — Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft. Jamila Woods
Most powerful lyric:
“Are you marching for freedom, or when it’s convenient?”

“Dear Mr. President” by P!nk and Indigo Girls
Most powerful lyrics:
“What kind of father would take his own daughter’s rights away?
What kind of father might hate his own daughter if she were gay?
I can only imagine what the first lady has to say”

“Trapped” by 2Pac
Most powerful lyric:
“Can barely walk the city streets
Without a cop harassing me, searching me
Then asking my identity
Hands up, throw me up against the wall
Didn’t do a thing at all”

“60 Years More” by Madeleine Roger
Most powerful lyrics:
“You don’t have to tell me what I already know,
I was paid less since 16 years old.”

“Land of the Free” by The Killers
Most powerful lyrics:
“So how many daughters, tell me, how many sons
Do we have to have to put in the ground
Before we just break down and face it:
We got a problem with guns? (Oh oh oh oh)
In the land of the free
Down at the border, they’re gonna put up a wall
Concrete and Rebar Steel beams (I’m standing crying)
High enough to keep all those filthy hands off
Of our hopes and our dreams (I’m standing crying)
People who just want the same things we do
In the land of the free”

“The Joke” by Brandi Carlile:
Most powerful lyrics:
“You get discouraged, don’t you, girl?
It’s your brother’s world for a while longer
We gotta dance with the devil on a river
To beat the stream
Call it living the dream, call it kicking the ladder
They come to kick dirt in your face
To call you weak and then displace you
After carrying your baby on your back across the desert
I saw your eyes behind your hair
And you’re looking tired, but you don’t look scared”

“What God Would Keep Us Apart“ by TYGERMYLK
Most powerful lyrics:
“I knew when I first your hand, That people might not understand,
They tried to lock you in a cage,
And they met our love with fear and rage,
But I wasn’t ashamed,
So I kissed her anyway.”

“For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield
Most powerful lyrics:
“There’s battle lines being drawn
Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong
Young people speaking their minds
Getting so much resistance from behind
It’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down”

Do you have any songs that move you? Share them in the comments!

About the Author:

Ryan Cassata is an award winning singer-songwriter, actor, performer, writer and LGBTQ activist & motivational speaker based in Los Angeles. With features in Rolling Stone, Billboard Magazine, The New York Times, Buzzfeed, and The Daily News, Ryan has made the most of his young career, which started when he was just 13.

As a musician with over 550 performances touring across the United States and internationally, including dates on the Van’s Warped Tour, SXSW and at the worlds biggest pride festivals, Ryan has been praised by The Advocate saying he’s a “Transgender singing sensation”, Paper Magazine put him on the “50 LGBTQ Musicians You Should Prioritize” list, LOGO put him on the “9 Trans Musicians You Need To Get Into” list and Billboard put him on the “11 Transgender & Non-Binary Musicians You Need to Know” list and premiered his most recent music video for “Daughter.” He has also been heard on Sirius XM Radio, BBC Radio 4 and other radio stations around the world. MORE INFO AT:




Matthew’s Place is by and for LGBTQ+ youth and a program of the Matthew Shepard Foundation l #EraseHate

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Matthew's Place

Matthew's Place is a program of the Matthew Shepard Foundation| Words by & for LGBTQ+ youth | #EraseHate | Want to submit? Email

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