It’s been one year since Baltimore lost Freddie Gray at the hands of police. The 25-year-old, who suffered a severe spinal injury while being transported in a police van, died one week after his April 2015 arrest.
The city was left in a state of chaos.
But in the wake of pain was an agenda to heal. While activists protested and the nation sought answers, artists paid tribute to Gray in song. The late Prince, who drew thousands together for his “Rally 4 Peace” benefit concert that following May, was one of them.
“The system is broken,” he said during his concert. “It’s going to take the young people to fix it this time. We need new ideas, new life. … There’s a lot of young people in here tonight and we believe in you…”
Within melody lies solace, so while many continue to mourn, today Global Grind stands in remembrance with a list of songs dedicated to Freddie Gray.
We haven’t forgotten.
Prince – “Baltimore” (Feat. Eryn Allen Kane)
The video for “Baltimore” includes heartrending footage of the rallies and protests that followed Gray’s death. “It is our duty as artists to bring various conversations to the table,” featured songstress Eryn Allen Kane said in a statement to NBCBLK. “These issues and angry feelings are old, but the conversation is new.”
Dru Hill – “Change”
“Us being from Baltimore and everything that went on with Freddie and police brutality across the country in general we felt like we needed to say something,” Dru Hill‘s Nokio told The Source in a recent interview. “You get to do all the other stuff – make love, have babies off our music, but you get to a point where you have a responsibility.”
Lyfe Jennings – “Baltimore (Tribute Song)”
R&B singer Lyfe Jennings took a stand for Baltimore last May by performing an acoustic song also titled “Baltimore.” “Hurt people wanna hurt people,” he sings on the track. “Two wrongs don’t make it right, it don’t even make it even.” The song was written shortly after his visit to Baltimore to promote his new album was canceled due to protests.
Salomon Faye – “Black Power”
Harlem emcee Salomon Faye made his way to Baltimore last year to participate in the protests following the death of Freddie Gray. In his 8-minute video for “Black Power,” the young artist documents protests from all over the nation.