Many musicians world wide are in outrage following the death of George Floyd who was killed by Minneapolis police on Monday, May 25th.
May 25th marked a day that will go down in history when yet another African American suffered from police brutality in the United States. 46-year-old George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pinning Floyd onto the ground by pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck until he asphyxiated while repeatedly saying, “I can’t breathe.”
This isn’t the first time across either the United States past, nor Australian history, that a person of colour has faced police brutality due to their race. Both the United States and Australia share a history of acute racism across the board with multiple killings of African Americans in the U.S. and indigenous persons dying at the hand of police in Australia.
Music has long been noted for being an out for expressing anger, frustration, and emotions, while becoming anthems for justice, beacons of hope in the face of adversary, and a platform for shouting about moments of injustice in the world.
With protests following George Floyd’s murder sparking world wide, many musicians have released songs and videos not only speaking of the tragedy that recently occurred, but bring a light to the fact that this incident in time is merely another moment repeated in history.
‘Walking In The Snow’ by Run The Jewels:
‘Walking In The Snow’ is one song from Run The Jewels newest album RTJ4 which released early in the wake of George Floyd protests, as the supergroup duo wanted to bring us “some joy” amidst all the sorrow.
While the song depicts moments of racial injustice from the 2014 death of African American Eric Garner, the track lyrics relay as entirely relevant today with both Garner and Floyd’s last words being “I can’t breathe.”
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‘Whip Cracker’ by Genesis Owusu:
Released only last night, Genesis Owusu’s ‘Whip Cracker’ was actually written a year ago, with the lyrics comprised of thoughts from previous years. Owusu has stated that him releasing this song is frustrating because it “doesn’t get less relevant.”
“I’m not gonna sit here and try to convince anyone why me and my family’s lives matter. I’m not gonna be congratulating white people for not being racist, and I’m not gonna beg and plead for justice of my people anymore, I’m taking that shit.”
‘Black Lives Matter’ by Teejayx6:
Including shocking footage from across history where African Americans have faced unjust violence, Teejayx6’s ‘Black Lives Matter’ was issued shortly after George Floyd’s death where he directly addresses the police officer who has been arrested for the murder of Floyd.
“Why you had to put your knee on his neck?” he queries, while also noting that those who witnesses Floyd’s death should’ve done more, questioning “Why you ain’t just go and help him out?”
‘I Can’t Breathe… Again!’ by Nick Cannon:
During the emotional three minute and 33 second video, Nick Cannon makes several statements that shine as beacons of reason throughout this whole devastating ordeal.
“Hands up, don’t shoot, but now you’re knees on my neck stopping me, from occupying oxygen that God obviously brought for me, for I am his offspring, his true seed, muthafucka get off of me! Please! I cant breathe! Please, somebody call the police on the police! ‘Cause I can’t breathe ….again!”
‘FTP’ by YG:
YG captures the spirit of exhaustion when having to protest over and over again for the same injustices that people of colour face across the world. His newest track, ‘FTP’ stands as a continuance of N.W.A.’s ‘Fuck Tha Police’, where he references “murder after murder” that has occurred at the hands of law enforcement.
“Been tired, fuck cardboard signs, we in the field,” the lyrics scream out. “I’m tired of being tired of being tired.”
‘DOA (feat. Joyner Lucas)’ by I Prevail:
Although the track ‘DOA’ came from I Prevail in 2019, their recent collaboration with Joyner Lucas to reimagine the song came at an all-too-relevant time.
From the chorus screaming “I can’t breathe,” to several references to gun violence, racial injustice, and a slew of other devastating afflictions the United States have made over the years, the video resonates as stronger than ever in the current climate.
‘Frontlines’ by Conway The Machine:
Amidst mass outrage, protesters set fire to a Minneapolis police department following the death of George Floyd. Shortly after, Conway The Machine released ‘Front Lines’ addressing how laws in place are biased towards race.
“Cracker invent the laws, that’s why the system is flawed,” the lyrics shout out before addressing the matter of Floyd’s death: “Cops killin’ black people on camera and don’t get charged / We ain’t takin’ no more / We ain’t just pressin’ record / Can’t watch you kill my brother, you gon’ have to kill us all.”