ABC Local 24: Stax Music Academy providing outlet to young adults with a songwriting challenge of protest songs

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Stax Music Academy is encouraging young adults who are struggling with the events surrounding the murder of George Floyd to channel their emotions through music. For the last eight nights, Memphians have marched, chanted and sang.

“Protest music is the oldest music itself,” Pat Mitchell Worley, Stax Music Academy Executive Director said. “Blues grew out of those field hollers and the protest songs that were very coded that existed.”

Mitchell Worley says they know this is a difficult time for youth too. They’re just as aware of what’s happening but they haven’t necessarily been included in the greater conversation.

Stax Music Academy hopes to give young adults a creative outlet during this time. They’re hosting a songwriting challenge for all Mid-South middle and high school aged students to remake or mash up a protest song.

“We wanted to give them the opportunity to put their voice in and to express themselves. What are they feeling? I think that is the first step for them because many of them may be too young to go out and be apart of a protest,” Mitchell Worley said.

Mitchell Worley says it takes creativity to create change but she also hopes parents will use this time to talk to their children and include them in the conversation.

“It’s not just good enough to tell your child everyone’s equal, you have to explain to them how that has not happened so they understand so they can recognize when they say racism happening,” she said.

Submissions can be sent to . The deadline to submit is June 5th. Quality of the recording is not judged.