The political fervor behind the movement against police brutality is reaching a fever pitch in music. A police union boycott of Beyoncé is gaining support after her Super Bowl performance, and Kendrick Lamar has given two fiery, politically charged performances at the Grammys and the BET Awards. Artists are fusing their music with political statements and consciousness more and more.
It was Chicago rapper Vic Mensa’s turn to throw in a fresh contribution to the anti-police violence movement at the Justice For Flint benefit in Flint, Michigan last night. Many black entertainers including Creed director Ryan Coogler, director Ava Duvernay, and comedian Hannibal Buress skipped the Oscars to participate in the event, which aimed to raise $100,000 for those affected by the devastating water contamination crisis. Vic used his opportunity on stage to seek some justice of his own for Laquan McDonald, a Chicagoan on the harrowingly long list of victims who’ve died at the hands of police.
He debuted the song “16 Shots,” named after the number of times McDonald was hit with police rounds, and it wastes no time getting to its agenda kicking off with a verse containing the lines “I can’t imagine if it was my own mama/ Got her first born son stole from her.” The song is unapologetic and unrelenting, leading into the high-energy hook: “Hands up high, up out your seats/ We want to fight, fire in the streets/ Yeah we up tonight/ Fuck the police we want to riot.” Watch.