Protest Song Of The Week: ‘Precious Cargo’ By Hurray For The Riff Raff
This post was originally published at Ongoing History of Protest Songs.
Hurray For The Riff Raff is the project of Puerto Rican singer-songwriter Alynda Segarra. Segarra explained the motivation behind the name in a 2017 PBS News Hour interview: “The people who have gotten me through my life are the weirdoes and the poets, the rebellious women, and the activists. They were considered the riffraff by people in power, and they’re the ones that make history.”
Their new album “Life On Earth” is a powerful follow-up to their exceptional 2017 album “The Navigator.” Described by the project as “nature punk,” the tunes confront environmental issues as well as other social ills.
The song “Precious Cargo” speaks to anti-immigrant and anti-refugee policies. Segarra sings, “We made it to the border. I jumped, and I was detained. Split me from my family. Now the light begins to fade.”
“They took me to the cold room, where I sat down on the floor. Just a foil for a blanket. For 17 days or more.”
Segarra continues, “I don’t know why he would lie on me. The man from the I.C.E. And I don’t know why he hate on me. The man from the I.C.E.”
It humanizes what the downtrodden experience at the hands border security and immigration officials.