Sometimes it’s easy to forget that wildly famous, successful musicians are people with lives outside of the music they produce for our consumption. Let’s celebrate the humanity and empathy of these 12 musicians whose activism astounded us.

N.W.A. المملكة Fuck THE Kings N.W.A SEATTLE police Seahawas CRACKED.COM The rallying cry Fuck tha Police, heard at demonstrations against police violence across the nation, was originated by the rap group N.W.A. on their 1988 debut album, Straight Outta Compton. The song became a protest anthem in 1992 when Los Angeles erupted in anti-police demonstrations following the acquittal of the cops who brutalized Rodney King.

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Public Enemy & The Bomb Squad FIGHT THE POWER EXTENDED VERSION PERSONAL 7,7, *STA TIMEL CRACKED.COM Originally recorded in 1989 for Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing, Public Enemy and the Bomb Squad's Fight the Power has remained a rallying cry for social justice movements. Consisting of a nearly overwhelming array of samples, including speeches by Civil Rights activists, jazz, soul, reggae, and more, the song was played and chanted wherever people felt at odds with an oppressive system, from American student protests to dissident Serbian radio.

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Joan Baez CRACKED.COM Folk singer Joan Baez made an indelible impact on the world with her activism and musical performances. In 1963, she sang We Shall Overcome, (written by Lucille Simmons and Pete Seeger) which became a Civil Rights anthem, at the March on Washington alongside Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. She also founded Institute for the Study of Non-Violence in CA in 1965.

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Aretha Franklin CRACKED.COM Born to a Civil Rights activist father, Aretha Franklin lent her voice and celebrity to the cause by frequently performing at protests and rallies. What many don't know, however, is that she put her money where her mouth was: in 1970 when Angela Davis was arrested and pronounced a terrorist by Nixon, Franklin paid the $250,000 bail that freed the young activist.

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