The following was originally published at Ongoing History Of Protest Songs.
On July 24, 2012, James Germon Harper, an unarmed black man, was shot to death by a Dallas police man. Harper was the cousin of rapper Bobby Sessions. That experience heavily influenced the songs from Sessions 2018 major label debut, “RVLTN-Chapter 1:The Divided States Of AmeriKKKa.”
In an interview with Billboard, Sessions explained how he was able to channel the death of his cousin in a positive way: “I feel like I was fortunate to be blessed with an ability to make music. That’s my therapy. Now for someone that doesn’t have that outlet, I don’t know exactly what that therapy should be. I feel like for me being able to make music and being able to study our history pre-slavery, where I learned how great people of color are, it made me feel very empowered.”
One of the politically-charged tunes on the album is the hard-hitting “Politics.” The song explores a range of issues connected with the black American experience including police brutality, kneeling for the national anthem, and for-profit prisons.
Both the video and tune support Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players, who take a knee during the playing of the national anthem. Sessions make it clear that the same people, who want to “stop kneeling on the field,” also want to “lock us up.”
Like several athletes who use their platform to shed light on important issues, Sessions is does the same with his music.
There are those that want to enjoy their sports and entertainment without politics. They want to enjoy their escapism without being forced to think about uncomfortable topics. But sometimes we need to feel uncomfortable. Lasting change won’t happen until we’re willing to have uncomfortable discussions.