“Black man, as your queen, I want you to know that I see you,” activist Tamika D. Mallory proclaims assertively on the spoken word intro of “Mercy.” She powerfully goes on to characterize black men as “kings” who wear “heavy crowns that are painful,” building them up with everything they bring to the table. She caps her cameo off with the key lines, “You don’t want pity, but you damn sure deserve a little mercy.” All of this occurs before Grammy-winning R&B artist Anthony Hamilton ever sings one note. Mallory sets the tone perfectly for Hamilton, as he seeks to atone for the adversity, hardships, injustices, and many wrongs suffered by black men.
“Mercy” is a heavy, socially conscious song that finds Hamilton petitioning for mercy for the racial unrest that has reared its ugly head in America, particularly in 2020. He soulfully acknowledges the plight of being a black man himself, asserting “Until / Until you’ve walked in my shoes / You can never ever sing my blues / Oh, never sing my blues.” Those lines, which commence the first verse are chilling, made even more so by the throwback, neo-soul production that contrasts much of the R&B of the 2020s. Later, on the second verse, he makes it clear that in order for things to change, we must make a change. Amen! On the chorus, he piggybacks on the final line of Mallory’s empowering opening speech, passionately:
“Have a little mercy
Show a little mercy
Give a little mercy
Just a little mercy.”
Does Hamilton solve the plethora of racial issues in the United States? No – it would take far more than a song to do so. However, he does spread a message of change and of course, mercy regarding this arduous fight for justice and frankly, life for black men. “Mercy” is nothing short of moving.
Photo Credit: BMG Rights Management
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.