You watch these politicians you didn’t vote for make decisions you don’t support and you feel powerless.
It’s not the war but what’s behind it Lord, the fear of foul men is mere assignment And everythin’ that we’re denied by keepin’ the divide It’s not the wakin’, it’s the risin
Like many Americans I have woken up to news headlines that have both flabbergasted and frightened me. You watch these politicians you didn’t vote for make decisions you don’t support and you feel powerless. So when I heard “Nina Cried Power” off of Hozier’s newest album “Wasteland Baby!” I felt it captured perfectly that weariness. He sings “it’s not the wakin, its the risin”. When I hear those lines I interpret it as the heaviness that you feel when you wake to bad news. Opening my eyes was the easy part but getting up and dealing with the ways of the world now that’s a little harder.
The song is a protest song that honors other artist who were known for their protest songs. Songs like Nina Simone’s “Mississippi Goddamn”, Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit”, and The Staples Singers’ “Freedom Highway.” These songs are as relevant as they were back in the Civil Rights Era as woman and people of color continue to be denied their rights. Staples Singer member Mavis Staples is even featured on the song providing that bridge to the past.
Art in it’s various mediums is a great way to broadcast political messages. Music is able to communicate to the world a powerful message in a three-four minute enjoyable package. Hozier isn’t American, he hails from Ireland but I appreciate his tribute to the protest singers before him in this highly contentious time in our country.
And I could cry power (power) Power (power) Power, Lord Nina cried power Billie cried power Mavis cried power
Being black in the world is difficult, no matter if you were raised rich, poor, or somewhere in between. At some point, the fact that you are black will become a thing. I admit that in the past I have wished that I wasn’t black, because of the racism I experienced. I wished that people could see me, not just my skin color. Leaving North Texas for Atlanta, I got to see black people thriving in a way I’d never seen before and it has given me a sense of pride in who I am.
For the entire month of February, Black History Month, I challenged myself to post a picture and a few lines on Instagram every day about a great person in black history. I’m 16 days in and it’s been an amazing experience. It’s easy to think about Black history month in those first few days because it’s everywhere in the media. But as time rolls by I find myself just going to back to business as usual. I am my ancestors wildest dream so taking a moment to reflect on their sacrifices is the least I can do.
So many times throughout history black people could’ve given up accepted their lot, but they never did. When the arms of the oppressor had them in a choke hold they kept fighting for what they knew was right. There’s this incredible strength ingrained in African people that won’t let us stay down. That’s not to say that the war is won. Injustice is still rampant in America and beyond but I know that we won’t stop striving for equality. Through racist politicians, tiki torching white supremacy, police brutality, or whatever else this insane world throws at us we will still be here.
And for your viewing pleasure I give you The Roots performing Civil Rights freedom song “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around”