Usher’s been becoming more outspoken about social issues over the last year, culminating in his Essence Fest ensemble in which he rocked a Juneteenth t-shirt and a jacket that asked, “Have we truly achieved our independence?”
Between posting quotes from Malcolm X and Nelson Mandela on Instagram, and reading Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me, Usher’s been sharing a not-so-subtle message of Black empowerment with his millions of fans. Now, he’s putting it all in his music.
In “Don’t Look Away,” Usher challenges listeners to stare directly into the eyes of victims of police violence, while he sings about America’s attempt to keep Black folks in “Chains,” which also happens to be the name of his new song featuring Nas.
The interactive video opens with the statement, “While racial justice keeps killing, society keeps looking away,” and features the pictures and stories of people who have been killed by police.
The video is haunting, provocative, and powerful.
Take a look.
All proceeds from “Chains” will be donated to Sankofa.org, a social justice organization.