I'm hurt, and pissed, about the Grand Jury's recent decision regarding the murder of Michael Brown, Jr. on August 9th of 2014. Other people will be more capable of giving an eloquent rundown of why the situation there since that day has been cause for outrage; mine would include a lot more swearing than I feel comfortable typing out right now.
I wrote a song in the hours following this news, and did a home recording of it just two days later. I've chosen to release it today, on what is known as Black Friday, because a lot of protest movements are organizing around a boycott of commercial/retail businesses on a day that is normally a shopping frenzy. The song is very direct, and personal, and, to quote the great Nina Simone, "I mean every word of it." You can stream the track below, as well as a version of 'Strange Fruit' that I recorded for this release - but read on to find out why you should consider donating for it:
Here's a statement I wrote earlier, which you can find on my Bandcamp page, going into some more detail:
This album is released as a Pay-What-You-Can download. All proceeds from the sale of this release will be donated to the St. Louis Area Foodbank, which has been helping to address the food desert conditions of Ferguson, MO in the last several months.I began writing this song on Monday night after the grand jury decision was announced. Like many, I was overwhelmed by anger and pain, but in my heart I knew I was expecting this, despite the valiant efforts of protestors in Ferguson and many on the Internet trying to keep attention on the story and expose the corruption of the Ferguson police department and the legal apparatus that led us to this point.This keeps happening, and with increasing frequency, and there continues to be no accountability in this. As a light-skinned black man I am relatively lucky to have avoided a lot of the harassment and violence that has left us with so many dead Black children, women and men - victims both of police aggression and of vigilantism that refuses to recognize the humanity of Black Americans across this country. The murder of Michael Brown is only an exception with regards to media coverage, the way Travyon Martin's murder was - and even still, most coverage is slanted against the victims and against the people rallying in their memory. So many more murders like this go completely uncovered and forgotten by the media - and even more so when you factor in intersections of identity, as with the many stomach-turning cases of violence against Black transgender women. This is not just a Southern issue or a Midwestern issue, as many people believe in various places I've lived in the Northeastern US. I wrote this song to reflect on this situation and my position in it, and I've posted the lyrics in the individual song page to be 100% clear on what I mean.The album also includes a cover of "Strange Fruit", penned by Abel Meeropol and made famous with versions by Billie Holiday and Nina Simone. The song was written in reaction to the climate of lynching of Black Americans in the 1930s, and continues to be relevant today - it is hard not to draw parallels between the lynchings of the Jim Crow era, and the extrajudicial murders of Black Americans in the present day. The statistics are indicating that they happen at about the same rate, and are punished about as infrequently.
I will post updates to keep a record of how much is earned from the sale of this single, and in turn to provide evidence of the donations.
Thank you for reading and listening.