After the verdict in the Michael Brown death last fall in Ferguson, Missouri, local music vet Jayanthi Kyle (Black Audience, Romantica, Gospel Machine) put her frustrations to song with "Hand In Hand."
Co-written by her Gospel Machine bandmate Wes Burdine, the song has been sung at Black Lives Matter protests around the Twin Cities, becoming something of a de facto anthem. It addresses the police ("Lay down your weapons and your badges and listen to me"); it addresses elected officials, including President Obama ("Are you marching with me?"). Here's a lyrical sample from "Hand In Hand," which features Kyle's powerful, soulful voice backed by percussive handclaps.
"The day’s gonna come when I won’t march no more / But while my sister ain’t equal and my brother can’t breathe / Hand and hand with my family, we will fill these streets."
“Everybody is so scared to talk to each other about these [controversial] things, when it really is very simple.” Kyle tells the Star Tribune. “I can do that with these songs. I can really get into these characters and into these moods.”
You can expect to hear "Hand In Hand" at Black Lives Matter's planned protest Sunday at the Twin Cities Marathon. Those plans, as we reported earlier this week, are really pissing some people off.
For some, the peaceful BLM protests present misguided public inconveniences that delegitamize their purpose.
For others, they represent boiling frustration brought on by 400 years of institutionalized slavery, oppression, and racism, the face of which can still be seen every time an unarmed black person is gunned down in the streets.
No matter your stance, it'll be worth checking out the album-release party for the debut Gospel Machine LP, Your Holy Ghost, tonight at the Cedar Cultural Center. Find out more about the band's "balls-out Jesus" approach in our recent profile.