One of the most important artists of this generation, Kendrick Lamar, used his platform for a greater purpose yet again at last night’s Grammys. Kendrick is not an entertainer, although his talent and energy foster excitement; he is an artist. As Beyoncé stated before announcing a Grammy award last night,
“Art is an unapologetic celebration of culture through expression.” – Beyoncé.
Kendrick did just that, express his thoughts on what’s happening in the African American community unapologetically while celebrating his African heritage. His performance included imagery of a Chain Gang, African tribal dancing, and a new verse in which he talks about Trayvon Martin’s murder on February 26, 2012. Below are lyrics of the first half of Kendrick’s Grammy verse:
It’s been a week already. Feeling weak already.
Got me a peak. Possibility of what could be.
Situation is heavy. I gotta prove.
On February 26th I loss my life too.
It’s like I’m here in a dark dream. Nightmare hearing screams recorded.
Lately they sound distorted, but I know who it was.
That was me yelling for help when he drowned in his blood.
Why didn’t he defend himself? Why couldn’t he throw a punch?
And for a community, do you know what this does?
Add to a trail of hatred. 2012 was taken for the world to see.
Set us back another 400 years.
This is modern day slavery.
Lamar’s performance was powerful and much needed for the African American community right now. It gave a sense of frustration with our current conditions, a reminder of what we’ve overcome and where we come from; with the last image being Kendrick standing in front of a map of Africa with “Compton” written on it. Watch the performance below and comment about your thoughts.