The song my podcast is centered around “Don’t Shoot” by The Game and various featured hip hop artist sheds light on the themes of racism, police brutality, and the Black Lives Matter movement.  The following three songs all have these themes in common as well. It shows that hip hop and pop artists have been using their verses to voice their concern in the way the government is address these issues.

“Alright” by Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar’s song “Alright” became one of the official, unofficial songs of the Black Lives Matter Movement as protesters often chant his lyric, “We gon’ be alright.” Alongside powerful lyrics, Lamar offered up an even more powerful video with nods to the massacre victims of the Emanuel AME Church in South Carolina, Sam DuBose and Aiyana Jones. The video doesn’t just reference those unarmed lives taken by police, but those taken by racists our government protects. The following lyrics really are synonymous with those of “Don’t Shoot”


‘Wouldn’t you know

We been hurt, been down before

Nigga, when our pride was low

Lookin’ at the world like, “Where do we go?”

Nigga, and we hate po-po

Wanna kill us dead in the street fo sho’

Nigga, I’m at the preacher’s door

My knees gettin’ weak, and my gun might blow

But we gon’ be alright’

“This Is America” by Childish Gambino

“This Is America” is a four-minute video laden with with imagery and metaphors of race and gun violence in America. Though hard to watch, the provocative video is a mirror of American’s sometimes deadly and sometimes nonchalant attitude when it comes to the issues of race and gun violence.

The video starts of with an upbeat tune to the words, “We just wanna party,” but the party ends abruptly as a black man playing his guitar suddenly appears in a straitjacket and is gunned down.

Gambino calls out America’s nasty habit of pretending everything is fine while failing to pass common sense gun laws and it’s complicity in numerous shootings of unarmed black people by cops and by racists. The video’s intense imaginary includes that of the massacre at the African AME church and 17 seconds of silence for the 17 lives lost at Marjory Stoneman Douglass Church.

“Better Days” by Victoria Monet featuring Ariana Grande

Mainstream artist Ariana Grande collaborated with songwriter Victoria Monet and released, a duet called “Better Days,” recently. A key lyric that directly related to the theme of my podcast is

“Baby there’s a war right outside our window/Don’t you hear the people fighting for their lives?”

The song “Better Days” addresses police brutality just like the song “Don’t Shoot,” It is a much more optimistic approach, almost a plea for a brighter future. The song was released following the back-to-back murders of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling at the hands of police officers.

Grande and Monet released a powerful statement with the song:

“Music is a universal language that all of us can feel regardless of color lines, gender, sexuality, age, race, religion … it unifies us,”

“We believe we can not fight hate with hate, only love. Just as we can not fight darkness with more darkness. Only Light.”