We’ve seen an unsettling stream of unarmed black men and women being targeted by police officers. From Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Alton Sterling, to Rekia Boyd – we all know their names. We have seen their deaths televised, right into our living rooms and mobile devices. It’s a dark reality that has led to the rise of #BlackLivesMatter, activism and conversations on police brutality. Chicago rapper R.O.E. walks listeners through the pain of witnessing this injustice on his new track “The Race.”
Story | Zara Hurtado
R.O.E. introduces his latest track “The Race” off the Long Way From Home EP with a no holds barred video directed by FromBailey. R.O.E. uses this track to speak on the injustice and discrimination plaguing the black community, tackling topics like police brutality and a corrupt justice system.
Depicting scenes of police brutality spanning from the 1960s to 2016 mirrored side by side, the visual sends a chilling message, reminding us of the reality of being black in America as R.O.E. raps:
“Feel as if the world is closing in on me/Putting an end on me because the color of the skin on me”
He packs his frustration into a steady flow that builds up with intensity over a simple beat, letting his anger serve as the driving force behind this track. References to Trayvon Martin and #BlackLivesMatter set a somber, yet determined tone proving that the rapper will not stay silent with lines like:
“I put my fist in the sky/Let my people know I’m down for the ride/‘Cuz normally I would sit and keep quiet/But I can no longer hide behind these walls/They have built to divide/So like a prophet I just have to transcribe.”
The visual is hard to watch at times, but when R.O.E. raps: “I thought I was chasing my dreams but I’m dodging my realities” it’s a reminder that the struggle the black community is facing is not over. It’s an act of resistance as he refuses to stay silent but promises to go forward.