Art has a way of retaining its value and meaning through the ages. And the song Blackbird by the Beatles is one of them. This is because Paul McCartney wrote the song as a symbol of hope for those who were fighting against racism and for civil rights in the United States. However, Blackbird’s meaning still stands strong today and it falls perfectly into context with the Black Lives Matter Movement.
The meaning of Blackbird
Blackbird is one of the most memorable songs The Beatles ever wrote. Even though it was at the end of The White Album’s B-Side, it is one of The Beatles’ finest work. In an interview with GQ, Paul McCartney (the songwriter) explained that the Civil Rights Movement of the 60s inspired him to write Blackbird‘:
I was sitting around with my acoustic guitar and I’d heard about the civil rights troubles that were happening in the ’60s in Alabama, Mississippi, Little Rock in particular.
The incident in Little Rock that Paul McCartney is talking about is the Little Rock Nine. They were a group of nine black students who faced discrimination due to segregation after enrolling in the all-white Little Rock Central High School in 1957.
Following that, the Supreme Court’s historic Brown vs. the Board of Education decision came, which changed the Civil Rights Movement in the US forever.
Inspired by this, McCartney wanted to write a song that would become a symbol of hope:
I just thought it would be really good if I could write something that if it ever reached any of the people going through those problems, it might give them a little bit of hope. So, I wrote Blackbird.
Here is McCartney meeting with two of the Little Rock Nine:
Incredible to meet two of the Little Rock Nine–pioneers of the civil rights movement and inspiration for Blackbird. pic.twitter.com/QrnOQnqrFX
— Paul McCartney (@PaulMcCartney) May 1, 2016
Blackbird isn’t for an actual bird
The word ‘Blackbird’ isn’t meant to depict an actual bird. In fact, the word ‘bird’ refers to a girl in England. Therefore, McCartney’s meaning behind the song was to tell a black girl to take her broken wings and ‘fly’:
Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly.
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise.
50 years have passed, and Blackbird is still relevant today, with the Black Lives Matter Movement.
How this song matters to Black Lives Matter
Police brutality and racism in the United States are still left unchecked. And that is what makes the murder of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd possible. However, songs like Blackbird can give the protesters hope that this is their moment to fight for their rights.
Blackbird is a song that is deep and metaphorical and can in fact be used in any circumstance. It speaks that even if you’re not free, oppressed, persecuted, or living in darkness, you should always try to rise and follow the light. As McCartney wrote:
Blackbird fly, Blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night.
So, Blackbird provides the perfect motivation for the Black Lives Matter Movement. Despite the racism and police brutality in the United States, it is their time to shine for what is right. And that is what makes Blackbird by The Beatles extremely relevant to this age.
This is why Blackbird is one of the 10 most covered songs of all time. Even though it’s been more than 50 years, Blackbird by The Beatles still resonates with the plight of black people in the United States, making it perfect for Black Lives Matter Movement.