I admit, I’m old, and my music tastes generally align with my age. Most of what I listen to was recorded from the mid 1960’s to the mid to early 1990’s. SO I had never heard of Sara Bareilles or her song “Brave” until a few weeks ago. My daughter had just come home from a meeting at our Church where she was helping to plan the annual summer young women’s camp out. I asked her how it went and she said that the theme for this year’s camp was going to be a song called “Brave.” I was curious so I looked the song up and watched the official music video on Youtube. “Brave” immediately shot to the top of my list of favorite Hymns of Social Justice. The respect that I had for the Young Women’s leaders working with my daughter also shot way up for their choosing such a powerful song as a theme for teaching the young women in our congregation. That they would use such a powerful message to teach my daughters to stand up for them selves and to be themselves no matter what nearly brought me to tears.
“Brave” coauthor Jack Antonoff said that he and Bareilles wrote the the song to be “a real civil rights anthem at a time when there are no civil rights anthems and there’s a giant need for civil rights anthems.” They succeeded. “Brave” is a powerful song in support of civil rights that follows in the tradition of Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Peter, Paul, and Mary, and all of my other favorites. If you have heard the song before then you know of it’s powerful message, if you have not, then I will not spoil the surprise for you, I will just invite you to listen and be inspired.
I do want to say one more thing. As much as I love the song, I love it even more because of the way that its video was done. Most music videos are peopled with professional actors or super model types – Perfect abs, perfect chests, perfect skin, your who’s who of airbrushed to perfection “perfect 10’s”. NOT so with “Brave”. The featured dancers all all just “regular people”. One guy is over weight. One has a paunchy belly that sticks out when he dances. Another is loosing his hair, etc. On top of that it was all shot with hidden cameras. All of the people that join in had no idea what was going on. They just saw some people dancing around and having a good time so, even if it meant making a public spectacle of themselves, they decided to be brave and join the fun. That is what really sold me on the song, the idea in the video that ANYONE, not just the “perfect” can demonstrate “how big your brave is.”