On Wednesday, February 12, Sweet Honey in the Rock graced the stage of Zellerbach Hall. It was a full house, understandable given the prominence of the group and their continual success over the past 40 years. Sweet Honey in the Rock, as the five women told us during the performance, was formed in 1973 by select members of the D.C. Black Repertory Theater Company in Washington. Over the years, the group has grown and changed to include many talented musicians as well as countless guest artists, and has gained recognition for their political and social activism, beginning with prominent Musicians United for Safe Energy concert series in New York City in 1979.
The group has continued to support many causes including disaster relief, the Free Africa Movement, and the No More Deaths organization, among many others. And their dedication to political and social causes is apparent in the themes of their songs, many of which were supplemented on Wednesday night by videos and photographs projected behind the group — stirring images of suffering and protests — all with the overarching theme that if we work together, there is hope that we can all improve the world.
Activism may not as prominent now on the Berkeley campus as it once was, but on Wednesday night when the audience sang together for the final song, “let there be peace on Earth, let it begin with me,” the spirit of the civil rights movement came alive again.