Research Proposal – Songs and Immigration
Musicians and their musical compositions emerge as effective ways of relaying information about different aspects affecting society and advocating for social and cultural change. I seek to explore in my research how various artists address the issue of immigration challenges. It emerges that many people encounter significant constraints moving from one place to the other, especially when traversing international borders. Other than language barriers, lack of employment opportunities, housing problems, and prejudice, some immigrants face considerable trouble clearing with immigration officers (Hirschman). Some people get into lengthy legal proceedings, while others are forced to return to where they come from without paying much attention to why they choose to move out of their country. Consequently, my research will explore various questions such as what factors drive immigrants out of their country, the challenges immigrants face, what can happen to mitigate immigration problems, and what role music has in addressing the problem. Finding suitable responses to these research questions will bring long-lasting and practical solutions to the challenges immigrants face in the U.S. and different parts of the world.
I will refer to various songs addressing the issues immigrants face in their attempt to move from one place to the other. M.I.A’s song “Paper Planes” (2008) is a good example of how artists express dissatisfaction with how immigrant officers handle immigration issues. The artist expresses her ordeal while trying to enter the U.S. and could not due to race-related concerns. I will also refer to Richie Spice’s “The Plane Land” (2008), where the Jamaican artist narrates how immigration officers interfere with his language suspecting that he is smuggling drugs. I will also refer to Aaron Watson’s “Clear Isabel” (2017) that highlights the troubles Mexicans encounter when trying to enter the U.S. These compositions will help understand the challenges immigrants face and show how music addresses the social problem.
Hirschman, Charles. “Immigration in the United States: Recent Trends and Future Prospects.” Malaysian Journal of Economic Studies, vol. 51, no. 1, 2014, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4302270/