Eric Garner. Rekia Boyd. Sandra Bland. Mike Brown. This week, the country added fathers Alton Sterling and Philando Castile to the long list of black lives lost to police violence and brutality. As a sense of collective grief sweeps across the black community, it’s difficult not to be overcome with a sense of helplessness and fatigue. Dismantling white supremacy and racist policing is a continuous social justice project – one that should require Latinos to challenge their own anti-blackness and complicity in systems of black oppression. A crucial part of that effort is remembering to turn to art and music for healing.
To that end, we’re revisiting the soulful protest of Destiny Frasqueri’s “Brown Girl Blues,” a cut from her 2015 project Honeysuckle. Last year, the Nuyorican artist unveiled a new, 70s funk-inspired alter ego lightyears away from Princess Nokia, who we deemed our Afro-futurist new age hood leader back in 2014.
Over a painful electric guitar riff, Destiny reminds us, “We are melanin, we are the gods/We are royal, they want to shoot us down.” At a time when harrowing videos of black murder auto-play across our timelines, triggering race-based trauma, “Brown Girl Blues” is a reminder of the action we must take. We are the gods. We are royal. We are a community that matters.
If you’re in New York, you can catch Princess Nokia at Afro-Latino Festival this weekend. For more information, click here.