I had subscribed to Apple Music in the weeks leading up to the drop of Frank Ocean's <i>Blonde</i>. I preferred Spotify by a long shot but Frank is the man, and I couldn't pass up the chance to miss the album. After digesting Endless, which I found to be a nutritious creative artifact, I listen to Blonde, which I will also declare as nutritious, though if Blonde is Rice, Endless would be Quinoa. The song "Nikes" stood out to me. I watched the video, and when Trayvon Martin's face appeared onscreen, the weight of the past 3 years -years spent eagerly searching for information, answers, resolution of some kind for the problems we see in our daily life as I became aware of them- fell through the chasm of my mind. I became angry, and in the cerebral distance I heard a melody appear. A chastising melody, disappointed and heartbroken. Two hours later, I had written a complete song uninterrupted for the first time in 3 years.
I thought of Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, and the countless other Black lives lost to police brutality. I thought of the public perception of these murders. The apathy and traumatized fury. I thought of the shifting perception of police. I thought of the racist origins of law enforcement. I thought of the conflict within officers who do not understand the purpose of their job, and comply with brutality to keep their families fed. I thought of what it would be like to face a gun, and no longer see a future for yourself. I thought about parents who teach their children to be wary of the police. I thought about a government that purposely keeps its population ignorant and entertained so they remain apathetic and occupied. This is a song about frustration.
You're standing outside in the shade
No peace within, no sign of sin
I must confess, you're under arrest
My eyes are wide, my head is numb
My arms are bleeding, my neck feels rough
I swear I'll go to bed, I don't want to end up dead
None of you know my name
Don't you think it's a shame
that all you know is the blood
that's soaked in the cracked concrete on the sidewalk?
released May 15, 2017
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