It’s been a heavy few weeks. Police officers shooting Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, the discovery of an Atlanta, Georgia man hanging from a tree after a KKK revival meeting, and the lack of justice for Eric Garner two years after his death have taken their toll on black and brown communities. While some of this grieving goes on in private spaces, on July 8, Miguel used his platform at the Wireless Festival in London to address the long-lasting effects of police violence in the U.S. on future generations. Through tears, he said he struggled sleeping the night before. This weekend while at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago’s Union Park, he once again spoke out about the importance of taking action as police brutality continues to flood our timelines.
Just before performing “Candles in the Sun” from his Kaleidoscope Dream album, he sang an a cappella version of “How Many,” focusing on the line, “I’m tired of human lives turned into hashtags and prayer hands.” Then, he gave a short, but powerful speech. “Just remember, we’re in a paradigm shift,” he said. “We are facing ourselves as a nation, as a race of humans, we are facing our worst habits. And it’s time. It is time now to make a difference. It is time now to act or change, because we all have the possibility of having and raising our very own children who can possibly die innocently. We gotta change this shit now, you hear what I’m saying?”
He ended this part of his performance the same way he started it: He implored fans to seek out ways to make a difference instead of just resorting to prayers. Miguel released “How Many” to support the Black Lives Matter movement earlier this month, and said he’d update it weekly until he completes it.