In less than two weeks, two grand juries have decided that there will be no indictment of the policemen responsible for the murder of Black New Yorker Eric Garner and the 18 year-old Black teen Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The blatant injustice of these decisions indicate a reality that has long been present but existing largely unseen by the greater white citizenry of the United States. The reality is that Black people’s lives have long been treated as disposable, this truth documented by the work of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and their research in Operation Ghetto Storm which asserts that a Black person is killed by police every 36 hours.
Artists are speaking out against the inhumane treatment of Black people in this country, specifically when mistreated by the police. Poets began publicly expressing themselves using the hashtag #BlackPoetsSpeakOut and reading their original poems as well as poems by significant poets from around the world. Khadijah Ali-Coleman produced and directed the poem below by Chioma Oruh through Liberated Muse Arts Group.
Singers like Liberated Muse’s Colie Williams decided to revisit classic protest music pieces to address what is taking place today. Colie played the legendary Billie Holiday this past season in Liberated Muse Arts Group’s production of IN HER WORDS and decided to remake Holiday’s song “Strange Fruit” to stamp it with her expression on today’s atrocities. Teaming with singer Quineice, who played Billie Holiday in IN HER WORDS for two seasons (2012-2013), Colie moved forward with a duet of the classic song that the two talk about in the video below.
You can listen to the full track of their rendition of “Strange Fruit” here.
How are you expressing yourself during this tragic moment in US history? Share your comments below.