Usher is known world wide as a powerful and soulful voice. His lyrics, tone, pitch and vocals are seen as some of the most influential in the business. The song “Chains” is a perfect example of how ones voice and performance can influence the way a song is perceived by an audience. The context of racial injustice and police brutality is a sensitive topic that can be hard to sing about. So having the correct tools like voice, performance, tone, etc. can all make for a beautiful message.


This live performance by Usher and Bibi Bourelly showcases the perfect example of delivering a powerful message by using those tools. The live performance on the Jimmy Kimmel show starts out by a voice over stating, “Please respond with tear gas and pepper spray… the 25 year old male was fatally injured this month under police custody… lets update our viewers here, around the world and the United States on what’s going on…”
Usher walks out onto the stage with a pair of handcuffs locked around his wrists to signify the “chains” his people are constant in. The vocals In the song are meant to be high pitched, loud, and a type of angelic singing. All these components together create a display of deep rooted emotion which is what the artists are trying to show the audience. The problem of injustice and racism is deep rooted and needs to be released by the people and heard aloud, clear and in a beautiful fashion.

Another display/performance of the song is the songs official music video. This music video is very powerful because it acts as a realistic movie that while playing, the song almost is faded into the background and you’re locked onto the screen with the music playing in your mind. The music video is shot in black and white giving it that ominous and emotional overview. Throughout the video, visuals of guns, handcuffs, black men, women and children seen protesting, running from police and police lights in their faces. Usher takes us through a rollercoaster of feelings seeing the visuals and him in the video having tears run down his face as he is seen running from the world of racism and injustice.