IN THIS (PANDEMIC) TIME / BLACK LIVES MATTER
I Just Want To Live:
12-year-old Keedron Bryant’s Viral Anthem Against Racism CONTENTS
- INTRO: I Just Want To Live. God Protect Me
- PLAYLIST: A 3-song playlist featuring Keedron Bryant’s, 51-second, acapella version of I Just Want To Live and two variations on YouTube
- ARTICLE: If Music Could Change The World: February’s Black History Month column featuring two playlists
IN THIS (PANDEMIC) TIME is a Kurated series informed by COVID-19. Racism is as deadly as any virus.
“I JUST WANT TO LIVE. GOD PROTECT ME.”
“An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times.”
– Nina Simone / Musician and black activist
12-year-old Keedron Bryant’s short, powerful song, I Just Want To Live – composed in the wake of George Floyd’s murder by Minneapolis police – makes a poignant and telling cultural statement.
The passionate, 51-second lament sums up reality for black males in the United States – their lives are in danger. Always.
Bryant’s knowing performance displays a strong vocal gift, emotional insight and a peculiar awareness (if you’re white). How many 12-year-olds do you know who count surviving police harassment alive as a necessary part of their skillset?
Praise for the piece has come from former US President Barack Obama, plus a host of musicians and celebrities while generating a lot of media attention on the talented Bryant.
Here’s what Bryant sings:
I’m a young black man doing all that I can to stand
Oh, but when I look around and I see what’s being done to my kind
Everyday, I’m being hunted as prey
My people don’t want no trouble We’ve had enough struggle
I just wanna live
God protect me!
There are no wasted words in this sad and direct narrative.
Two versions follow the original. The first features a rap by will-i-am – founder of the Black Eyed Peas, songwriter, dj and producer.
The second features Bryant singing a new – and superior – live version of his song starting at 3:30.
There are numerous other virtual collaborations on YouTube.
Kurated and Black History Month
For the past two years Kurated has marked February’s annual Black History Month by focusing exclusively on black musicians. Read this year’s lead column, and listen to two more playlists here.
03 June 2020