Dr. Robert Larson replays the sounds of activism against apartheid and American neo-imperial hegemony, through Artists United Against Apartheid's 1985 song, Sun City.
Field recordings from South Africa's anti-segregation protests open Sun City, a single, album, and music video released in October 1985. Miles Davies, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, and Run DMC joined fifty Artists United Against Apartheid, a multicultural collective who boycotted performing in the racialised regime. Striking its Sun City casino complex, where capitalistic excess comingled alongside extreme poverty, these artists targeted the homeland seizures at apartheid's core. Their lyrics shine light on how apartheid accelerated British and Dutch colonial methods, and relied upon the United States' neo-imperial international hegemony. Yet Sun City's uniquely anti-West critique also speaks to American understandings of racial solidarity, questioning the role of Western musicians as political activists, fundraisers, and historians of Africa.
PRESENTER: Dr. Robert Larson, independent historian and knowledge producer. He received his PhD in history from the Ohio State University in 2019, specialising in the anti-apartheid movement.
ART: Sun City, Artists United Against Apartheid (1985),
IMAGE: 'Coretta Scott King, Little Steven, Julian Bond, and Vernell Johnson (Manhattan Records) at a press conference hosted by Mayor Andrew Young in Atlanta'.
SOUNDS: Artists United Against Apartheid.
PRODUCER: Jelena Sofronijevic.
Follow EMPIRE LINES at: twitter.com/jelsofron/status/1306563558063271936
Support EMPIRE LINES on Patreon: patreon.com/empirelines