“The 60s were a leap in human consciousness. Mahatma Gandhi, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Che Guevara, Mother Teresa, they led a revolution of conscience. The Beatles, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix created revolution and evolution themes. The music was like Dalí, with many colours and revolutionary ways. The youth of today must go there to find themselves.”

–Carlos Santana – 2010

The 1960s “hippie movement” was the first counter culture movement that originated in the US in the 1960s. The movements was started by a group of American youth who followed in the footsteps of the Beat Generation, a literary movement that advocated the rejection of standard narrative values, study of Eastern religions, rejection of consumerism, experimentation with psychedelic drugs and sexual liberation. The youth opposed the cultural standards of their parents which were associated with racial segregation and the initial widespread support for the Vietnam War. Many young people also feared that America’s nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union could lead to a nuclear holocaust. Hence, the movement was regarded as being an anti-establishment cultural phenomenon. It gained momentum with new social issues coming to the limelight in the 1960s such as those related to human sexuality, traditional modes of authority, experimentation with psychoactive drugs and differing interpretations of the American Dream. The American youth supported civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights movements and rejected the Vietnam War. As media was expanding, the hippies (youth who was part of the movement) became more popular with the introduction of psychedelic rock music, pop-art and new explorations in spirituality. Notable musicians from this era include The Beatles, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Velvet Underground and Janis Joplin. Bizarre and distinct appearance became symbolic of the hippies which included moustaches, long hair for men; colourful multi-ethnic clothing, little or no makeup for women and sandals or barefoot. The movement started to die out in the mid-1970s as it received criticism from media and became a target for ridicule.