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Joe Budden: Freedom Freestyle

A week of songs inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement

A remix of Beyonce, and Kendrick Lamar’s “Freedom” this piece is filled with references to the Black Lives Matter movement as well as actual video content from many of the murders and assaults on people of color from the past few years. The work is combined with Jesse Williams’ incredibly powerful BET Awards speech about cultural appropriation.

“Land of the free, the home of the brave/Can’t let us be, we’ve grown from slaves/It’s there if you want to read/I mean it’s all in the page”

cw: strong language, violence, murder, blood, disturbing images

Blood Orange: Do You See My Skin Through the Flames

A week of songs inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement

Written under his “Blood Orange” moniker, Devonte Hynes wrote this piece as a collection of his thoughts, a delve into the life, and mind, of a person of color in the modern world. Racial profiling, murder, stereotyping, all things that people of color face daily. It is less of a song, and more of a stream of consciousness set to music.

“I ain’t got nothing left to give you/and I’m too tired, to even talk about it/while watching the fire/tasting pain coming from a place of truth”

Prince, feat. Eryn Allen Kane: Baltimore

A week of songs inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement

Finding himself deeply affected by the death of Freddie Gray (April 19, 2015 – Baltimore, Maryland), Prince wrote this tribute song. Mentioning both Michael Brown and Freddie Gray, the piece is a reflection on the violence that spread through the country in the past few years from unjust killings. The piece ends with a direct quote from Prince: “The system is broken. It’s going to take the young people to fix it this time. We need new ideas, new life…”

“Are we gonna see another bloody day/We’re tired of the cryin’ and people dyin’/Let’s take all the guns away”

Lauryn Hill: Black Rage (Sketch)

A week of songs inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement

Set to the tune of “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music, “Black Rage” was a reprisal, brought back shortly after the shooting of Michael Brown (August 9, 2014 – Ferguson, Missouri). The piece looks at the atrocities the African American community has faced for years and how this hatred can take us into dark places.

“Black rage is founded on two thirds a person/rapings and beatings and suffering that worsens/Black human packages tied up in strings/Black rage can come from all these kinds of things”

cw: rape, abuse, physical violence, substance abuse

Common, feat. John Legend: Glory

A week of songs inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement

Written for the movie 2014 film Selma which followed the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., this Oscar winning song connects the struggle and victories from the civil rights era to modern America and the battle that continues to wage for equality between all races. “We say that Selma is now because the struggle for justice is right now” (Common, Academy Awards acceptance speech).

“That’s why Rosa sat on the bus/That’s why we walk through Ferguson with our hands up/When it go down we woman and man up/They say, “Stay down”, and we stand up”

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