“I just wanna live / God protect me.” That is a powerful petition. Amazingly, that petition for life and protection comes from a 13-year old... let that sink in. R&B and gospel singer Keedron Bryant went viral for “I Just Wanna Live,” his reaction following the death of George Floyd. The song was written by his mother, Johnnetta Bryant, and the words are pitch perfect (vocals too for that matter). It captures feelings of fear, pain, and unspeakable sadness experienced by black Americans, particularly black men. Far too many deaths have occurred as the product of police brutality and racial injustice. Bryant, hence, seeks to survive and atone through faith and prayer. Furthermore, he seeks a six-letter word: CHANGE.
“I’m a young black man / Doing all that I can / To stand,” Keedron sings with power and conviction at the beginning of the first verse. He makes it clear throughout the record that black Americans are simply seeking equality and justice; they’re not asking for something far-fetched or unreasonable. “Every day / I’m being hunted as prey,” he sings, representing his people commandingly, continuing, “My people don’t want no trouble / We’ve had enough struggle.” Similarly, on the second verse, Bryant expresses fear because “There’s no place safe for me.” Why? Again, an unfortunate history of systematic racism has led to fatality way too often for black men.
While “I Just Wanna Live” can’t single-handedly change the world, this woke record can serve as a catalyst toward change. Black Americans are tired of seeing the same headlines; it’s ‘rinse and repeat.’ While lives lost can’t be atoned for, the opportunity is ‘loud and clear’ for everyone, regardless of what race, ethnicity, gender, or sexuality, to stand up for what’s right and promote necessary change. If a 13-year old can be so brave and totally woke to speak out, then why can’t we? What’s our excuse?
You can learn more about keedron bryant here:
About The Curator - Brent Faulkner
Slightly eccentric with interests that seem to know no ends, restless ‘Renaissance Man’ is the best way to characterize Brent Faulkner, a native of Kentucky. A certified music educator, multi-instrumentalist, and composer known for his incredibly sharp ear, he lives and breathes music of a variety of styles. In addition to passion for educating, performing, and writing music, he’s equally passionate blogging and writing about it, managing his own site, The Musical Hype (https://themusicalhype.com). When he’s not intensely analyzing music, you can find him reading or watching a movie, reality television or some sporting event.