As the dreaded day of Richard Spencer’s arrival in Gainesville approached, a School of Music student created a Spotify playlist spreading messages of love to counter Spencer’s messages of hate.
“A lot of us want to go out and protest but it’s always a double-edged sword, because you also don’t want to give them attention,” she said. “You don’t want to put yourself and others in danger by trying to directly protest or fight this thing head on, so I thought it was a small thing I could do. Even if it brought comfort to one person that they listen to music they haven’t heard before and learned about each other through music, then it might help a little bit.”
The student encouraged other students to add songs to her playlist when she posted the playlist to a private School of Music students Facebook page.
According to the student, the response to the playlist was bigger than she anticipated. Because it is a collaborative playlist, anyone can add a song to it. As an alternative, others chose to comment their suggestions on her initial Facebook post.
The playlist currently has 30 songs, including Tom Petty’s Won’t Back Down, The Beatles’ All You Need is Love, and Simon & Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water.
“Music is a universal language,” she said. “Music has the power to heal. It has the power to allow people to communicate basically in a way that they can’t just with words.”
*For safety reasons, the student’s name has been withheld.