R.E.M. marked Martin Luther King Day yesterday (January 18) by sharing archive footage of Michael Stipe reading Dr King’s Strength To Love.
In the 2002 video, Stipe is seen reading directly from the 1963 collection of sermons by the Civil Rights Movement leader, which addressed racial segregation in the United States.
“Why should we love our enemies?” Stipe asks in the video, reading King’s words directly.
“Returning hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate can not drive out hate, only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.”
King was born in Atlanta, Georgia, a mere hour from where R.E.M. formed in the city of Athens in 1980.
The release of the stirring video comes as the likes of Alicia Keys, Summer Walker, Ty Dolla $ign, Mary J. Blige and more called on the incoming Joe Biden administration to launch a commission to address racial injustice in America within their first 100 days of taking office.
17 artists, also including Vic Mensa, Quavo, Offset, A$AP Ferg and 070 Shake, appear in a new video titled ’17 Ways Black People Are Killed in America’. It draws attention to 17 Black Americans killed in recent years, including the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd at the hands of police last year.
Stevie Wonder also shared a video in which he similarly urged the Biden administration to formally set up a commission into inequality while also paying tribute to Martin Luther King on the late civil rights activist’s birthday.
“Without truth, we cannot have accountability. Without accountability, we cannot have forgiveness. Without forgiveness, we cannot heal,” Wonder said.