Alicia Keys, LL Cool J and the new wave of protest songs

(BBC) – The death of George Floyd has prompted one of the biggest movements against racism since the civil rights era.

Protests were held globally after video footage from Minneapolis showed a white police officer kneeling on Mr Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes.

The 46-year-old could be heard repeatedly telling the officer, “I can’t breathe”.

Around the world, music became a crucial way for people to express their grief and anger.

Bob Marley’s Get Up, Stand Up and Bill Withers’ Lean On Me soundtracked several protests, while streaming figures for songs that call out police violence soared: from Childish Gambino’s This Is America and Kendrick Lamar’s Alright to NWA’s visceral hip-hop track [Expletive] Tha Police.

The latter was also used by hackers to disrupt police scanners in Chicago during the protests.

In a more unifying moment, protestors in Atlanta encouraged the National Guard to join them in performing the Macarena.

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