Date of Award

Fall 12-15-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


African American Studies, Africana Women's Studies, and History

First Advisor

Thomas Scott, Th.D.

Second Advisor

Stephanie Evans, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Marcellus Barksdale, Ph.D.


By the mid-1970s, Earth, Wind & Fire (EWF) became one of the most commercially successful pop music bands in the world. Their dynamic sound thrilled listeners and their elaborate concerts captivated audiences. EWF stood out from other artists with their philosophical messages and their use of ancient Egyptian symbols and imagery in their visual art. The ancient Egyptian themes intrigued fans but drew criticism from others. This study examines the ancient Egyptian themes incorporated into the lyrics of the songs recorded by the band. This study also examines the ancient Egyptian symbols used in the EWF’s visual art, including album covers, music videos, and concerts.

A content analysis was conducted to study the lyrics and identify themes related to ancient Egyptian spirituality. A content analysis was also used to study the visual art and decipher what the symbols may signify. This research was based on the premise that Earth, Wind & Fire used their artistry to be a positive influence. When the lyrics and visual art were examined, the researcher found that they both contain themes of ancient wisdom and universal truths. The conclusions drawn from the findings suggest that EWF’s mission was to raise the consciousness of the world, and the way people responded is an indication that the mission was accomplished. The findings also suggest that the negative criticism EWF has received is unjustifiable.