Marcel P. Black Is Using His Voice To Help His People Cry Freedom (Video)
Baton Rouge, Louisiana made headlines last summer for a tragedy far too common in the United States. On July 5, Alton Sterling was killed by police. He was unarmed, and his death only reinvigorated the energies of those fighting for meaningful, permanent changes to the way the United States views and treats its Black citizens. Local rapper Marcel P. Black, who has been touted as one of the city’s preeminent talents, has channeled the frustrations surrounding the failures of American government and society to adequately address the racism permeating society into his music. Having been called “baptist deacon meets gangster rapper meets Malcolm X,” he recently dropped Cry Freedom, an album featuring Tef Poe, Supastition, Substantial, and others.
For the album’s title track, which he describes as a “runaway slave anthem” for 2017, Marcel cries out for his people with searing lyrics, referencing South African apartheid, collusion between the media and the government, Nat Turner, and revolution. As he tells Ambrosia For Heads, “Cry Freedom is the joy, pain, triumph, and tears experience as we struggle to overcome whatever or whoever is benefiting from our oppression. I wanted it to serve as a 2017 Runaway Slave Hymn, an ode to keep up the good fight even when we get tired and feel like quitting. It’s a demand for our humanity to be honored and respected, and an open rebuke of all things discriminating against the people.”
In the video, he alternates between wearing a dashiki and a plain Black tee (notably, he is behind a fence while wearing the latter, as if to suggest the only time Black people are deemed non-threatening is when dressed in more formal attire). Sweeping camera work, snippets of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words, and tight shots on his face help are all incorporated to underscore the loneliness, history, and pain he carries with him on behalf of others.
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