Lockdown, Anderson .Paak’s Juneteenth Anthem.
On June 19th, the USA celebrates an unofficial, but important, national holiday: the day the slaves in America were finally freed. Amidst the protests of the Black Lives Matter movement sparked when George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis policemen at the end of May: the world is starting to reevaluate its positions on systemic racial injustices and police brutality.
Anderson .Paak released ‘Lockdown’ along with a music video directed by Dave Meyers (a frequent collaborator with Kendrick Lamar) to commemorate the quiet spaces during these tense moments. The easy drum groove, performed by him, evoke his classic relaxed summer jams but his voice plays over somber and low, pulling the listener in to his words.
“Oh why don’t you tell me bout the lootin what’s that really all about? Cause they throw away black lives like paper towels / Plus unemployment rate what? 40 million now / Killed a man in broad day, might never see a trial / We just wanna break chains like slaves in the south.”
With guest appearances by fellow musicians by the likes of Dominic Fike, Syd from The Internet, Andra Day, Sir, Dumbfoundead, and Jay Rock the music video shows the troop at a diner, sharing memories following a protest. The intimate close-ups of .Paak, with a wound on his head being embraced by Day, or of Jay Rock delivering his verse of wisdom and advice to a younger Syd outside the diner, show a unique sense of care and support growing amongst the people that are taking part in the civil revolution. Jay Rock’s verse, although absent from the official audio, runs smooth in his conversational and mellow tone and is the break in the middle of the song, reinforcing .Paak’s criticisms of the American government’s oppressive reaction to the protests.
“You go on your jog, then your color might get you took in it / The man in the mirror can’t look away you gotta look at it / Black lives matter so what it means when they shoot at it?”
The music video ends with .Paak home with his son and tears in his eyes – a reminder that the struggle we go through now will be to ensure equality and civil safety for future generations. .Paak’s tear animates into the names of the numerous black lives that have been murdered as a cause of police brutality, and then into the emblem of the BLM movement: a raised fist. .Paak adds a note that all the salaries of those that have worked on the song have gone to various charities, and that the .Paak House donated to bail funds in Atlanta, Los Angeles and Albany.
Donate to the BLM Foundation here: https://blacklivesmatter.com/