As you probably know, Mississippi elected a very controversial figure into the Senate this week. For many, myself included, this was not a surprise, but that doesn't mean it isn't upsetting to know that 54% of the state's population doesn't have a problem with her willingness to be "front row" at a public hanging. When I woke up and saw the news, there was one artist, and one song, that immediately came to mind.
Before we get into that song, let's rewind about 55 years. A man from Mississippi named Medgar Evers was brutaly murdered, in front of his home, back in 1963 for his affiliations with the NAACP, and the work he'd been doing for Civil Rights. As a World War II veteran, he loved his country, and only hoped to make it better, but of course that wasn't enough for the citizens of Mississippi. No one was charged in the court trials that followed, and it wasn't until 1994 when his family finally saw justice.
This event really pissed off Nina Simone, and she responded the best way she knew how - with music. Her song, "Mississippi Goddam" was an anthem against the state of Mississippi and it's racism. As you could imagine, no one was willing to play it, but it didn't fall into obscurity! Today it's remembered as one of the most significant protest songs in American history.
So now it's 2018, and we're still having conversations about people in high power who are clearly influenced by racism. I'm not supposed to make political statements, but how could I possibly not speak out about something that threatens my existence as a black man? ((sigh))...
If you don't know the song, Mississippi Goddam, listen here. Below is a clip from an interview Nina Simone gave, in which she perfectly outlines WHY I don't use my art, and my proximity to others' art, as a reason to ignore these types of atrocities.