This is a song from the Hamilton Mixtape, which I believe is pretty well known and popular at the moment. (I don’t even totally know, I live in Europe!) It’s a song that is sung by George Washington in the original show and is an insightful, touching song about how history is written.
But in the remix, sung by John Legend and a choir, the song feels, to me, to be more a call to action. More than saying “this is right”, “this is wrong” or “we are better” and “these people are horrible” it asks the question: what will history write about you?
We can all get caught up in the political mess that the US seems to find itself in at the moment. Sometimes voting, protesting, and getting involved seems futile. I get it. But when I think of it in terms of zooming out—wondering how history will view ME—then I feel more pressed to do something. To physically manifest into action what I stand for in spirit. This piece shows to me, in short, the power of song.
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”
New York Festival of Song • One Penn Plaza • #6108 • New York, NY 10119 • 646-230-8380 • email@example.com