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Protest Song Of The Week: ‘It’s Been Burning For A While’ By Chris Pierce

When news hit that Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all three counts for the murder of George Floyd, there was a collective sigh of relief. But the fact that the verdict was in doubt is evidence that there is still a long way to go.

The reality is that since the trial started on March 29, police have on average killed more than three people a day in the United States, including 13-year-old Adam Toledo in Chicago and 20-year-old Daunte Wright in Minnesota.

Singer-songwriter Chris Pierce highlights this long history of violence against black people is highlighted by singer-songwriter tune, “It’s Been Burning for a While.” The song first premiered on the 99th anniversary of the Tulsa Race
Massacre, and it linked the events of the summer of 2020 with the dark past.

“This song was written in memory of George Floyd and all those whose lives have been affected by abusive, excessive, and inhumane force,” the songwriter says. “The lyric, wrapped around a thought Malcolm X expressed many years ago, is about the current and historic storm engulfing our nation and world.

“The melody and chord structure are in the spirit and structure of African-American work and protest songs. This song is written as a call, in the enduring hope of a response.”

It is included on Pierce’s excellent 2021 album “American Silence,” which also explores America’s troubled history with race relations.

There may still be a lot of work to do, but hopefully, we are finally getting closer to extinguishing the fire.

Listen to Chris Pierce’s “It’s Been Burning for a While” on Bandcamp or watch the video for it here:

CJ Baker

CJ Baker

CJ Baker is a lifelong music fan and published writer. He recently started a website chronicling the historical developments of protest music:, and can be found on Twitter @tunesofprotest