Fury over the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling inspires musicians to take action
Jay-Z, Solange and Swizz Beatz are among the latest musicians to record new songs in response to the police killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.
Since the death of father-of-five Sterling in Louisiana, there has been a growing wave of anger among musicians about the behaviour of police in the US. This intensified when school worker Castile was shot dead in his car in Minnesota on Wednesday.
Jay Z explained that ‘Spiritual’ was a song he began writing “a year or so” ago following the police shooting of another citizen, Mike Brown.
He wrote on Tidal: “Punch (TDE) told me I should drop this when Mike Brown died. Sadly, I told him ‘This issue will always be relevant’. I’m hurt that I knew his death wouldn’t be the last. I’m saddened and disappointed in THIS America. We should be further along. We are not.”
The note continued: “I trust God, and know that everything that happens is for our greatest good. But man… it’s tough right now. Blessings to all the families that have lost loved ones to police brutality.”
Beyonce also expressed her sorrow at Sterling and Castile’s deaths. In a note on her website, she wrote: “We are sick and tired of the killings of young men and women in our communities. It is up to us to take a stand and demand that they ‘Stop killing us’.” At her show at Glasgow’s Hampden Park, she asked for a moment of silence for the killings.
Beyonce’s sister Solange has shared a short cover of soul singer Syreeta’s 1972 song ‘Black Maybe’. Sharing her cover on Instagram, Solange wrote: “I’ve been singing Syreeta’s ‘Black Maybe’ over and over again trying to comfort my weary heart. But what is comfort when the images of slain black bodies left to bleed, is sketched into your being…over and over again.”
Swizz Beatz shared his new song ‘Sad News’ on Soundcloud about the police’s actions. It features rapper Scarface, whose verse references Donald Trump and the Ku Klux Klan.