Lauryn Hill Dedicates Song ‘Black Rage’ to People of Ferguson
Lauryn Hill has released what she calls a “sketch” of her song, Black Rage.
Hill dedicated the song to the people of Ferguson, Mo., who are protesting and fighting for racial equality and justice after unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Aug.9.
Hill’s website introduces the song as, “An old sketch of ‘Black Rage,’ done in my living room.”
She went on to write, “Strange, the course of things. Peace for MO.”
The rough cut of the song features shaky percussion and quite a bit of background noise has made its way on to the track as well.
But even the lo-fi recording and sounds of children in the background were not enough to take away from the song’s overall message.
The tune, which was originally written as a poem featured during her 2012 “Life is Good/Black Rage” tour with Nas, is about all the issues that spark justified rage in the Black community.
“Black rage is founded on dreaming and draining/ Threatening your freedom/ To stop your complaining,” she sings. “Poisoning your water/ While they say it’s raining/ Then call you mad/ For complaining, complaining.”
The song lyrics question whether free enterprise is a “myth or illusion” and she sings that Black people are victims of both mental and physical forms of violence.
Like many artists in the past few days, Hill felt it was important to use her platform to spread a message that’s important to her.
“I use the performance platform as an opportunity to express the energy of that moment and the intention behind it,” Hill said of the poem-turned-song, at the time she performed it during the concert tour. “I’ve been a long-standing rebel against the stale, over-commoditization. As artists, we have an opportunity to help the public evolve, raise consciousness and awareness, teach, heal, enlighten and inspire in ways the democratic process may not be able to touch. So we keep it moving.”
During the tour, she eventually performed the poem to a “beat-heavy jazz song,” according to the Rolling Stone.
In her “sketch” of the song, however, she sings the words to the tune of My Favorite Things from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The Sound of Music.”
Hill isn’t the first musician to dedicate music to the people of Ferguson.
J. Cole won over the hearts of thousands on social media last week when he released a song called “Be Free,” which also featured sound bites from Dorian Johnson, Brown’s friend who witnessed the shooting.
“All we want to do is take these chains off,” J. Cole says on the chorus. “All we want to do is be free.”
The hip-hop star also surprised Ferguson and the world of social media when he showed up in the city for a surprise visit, unannounced to the media.
Eventually, word got out as the people of Ferguson posted pictures and Vine videos of the rapper speaking with people in the community and visiting the spot where Brown was shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson.