The killings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Philando Castile in St. Paul, Minnesota in the last week reportedly brought the total number of black men shot to death by police officers in this country to 123 this year. And while many are at a loss for words, TV programs like The Daily Show and The Nightly Show have been examining the roots of the problem while asking for recognition of the problem. There are also several black artists offering sympathetic and empathetic tracks up to their community. As Rolling Stone reports, Jay Z just released “spiritual,” an anti-police violence song that he only recently finished. In it, the Brooklyn rapper sets his inner struggle to maintain his faith in the wake of tragedy to a driving beat from Detail.
Jay Z issued an accompanying statement, in which he says he was first inspired to write “spiritual” after the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014. Although a collaborator suggested that the song might no longer be timely after sitting on the shelf for a bit, Jay Z says he’s “sad and disappointed” to learn that the theme remains relevant.
Fellow hip-hop artist and producer Swizz Beatz collaborated with Scarface on “Sad News,” which they released via SoundCloud overnight. The two rappers mourn the victims while also decrying racial inequality, which is evident in the criminal justice system in this country.
“I’m tired of human lives turned into hashtags or prayer hands,” sings Miguel on “How Many,” which he released on SoundCloud in the early morning hours. The Wildheart artist admits the song will need updating, to note further loss of life as well as progress in the Black Lives Matter movement to stop the killings.