During the summer transitioning into 11th grade, there was a song I found that really furthered my understanding of the black community’s perspective on police brutality. I already knew that the black community was incredibly angry with the police and the shootings of unarmed black citizens, but this song really unpacked the mindset of the general black community and their view on the police.
I came across this song when I was on a subway in the DC area, listening to random rap songs on Spotify. The shuffle function on my recommended list played a song by Dave East, titled “Don’t Shoot.”
Over the song, the pitch of the voice (the age) lowers (increases), whilst the perspective of this fictitious person (intended to represent the life of a victim of police brutality) becomes increasingly more aware of police brutality.
The first time I listened to this song I was intrigued and moved by how, besides the experiences of police brutality, was relatable to me as a kid who grew up in the US for 9 years and a middle/high school student:
“I’m tryna make the varsity team, chill with Stacy and
Shop at the mall, only Ralph Lauren they’ll lace me in
I had the Moncler, remember begging moms for it”
The exposure of that relatability in contrast to the unrelatable quality of being exposed to police brutality throughout his entire life furthered my empathy of how the American black community feels. I understand that while I can only speculate as to how it must feel to be afraid of being shot by the police, I understand on a more personal level why they feel this way, because Dave East created a feeling of a relatable character in this song. All in all, what I got out of this song has been augmented to my understanding of power and privilege, which is why I believe this fits with the global engagement category.