With Black Lives Matter protests taking center-stage this year, singer Jon Bon Jovi released a song inspired by George Floyd, but he says the song is not intended to be political.
Speaking with “CBS Sunday Morning,” the singer discussed the release of his new album “2020” and its single “American Reckoning,” which focused on Black Lives Matter, the death of George Floyd, and police brutality.
“If you’re a writer, this is fertile ground,” said Bon Jovi of his latest album. “And now I’m just going, ‘This is all I need to be writing.’ Moments in history, moments in my history, moments in time.”
As reported by Fox News, in the song “American Reckoning,” Bon Jovi sings of an America on fire as he echoed the dying words of George Floyd. The lyrics.
America’s on fire / There’s protests in the street / Her conscience has been looted / And her soul is under siege / Another mother’s crying, as history repeats / I can’t breathe.
Damn those 8 long minutes / Lying face down in cuffs on the ground / Bystanders pleaded for mercy / As one one cop shoved a kid in the crowd / When did a judge and a jury / Become a badge and a knee / On these streets
When writing those lyrics, Bon Jovi said he wanted to be careful because he understood that he is the epitome of “what could be described as white privilege.”
“If I’m not the poster boy for what could be described as white privilege, then who is?” Bon Jovi said. “I’m an older, white, affluent celebrity, you know? I got it.”
“So, I had to be very careful, and I ran it by friends and people I didn’t know, who could opine. And they did. I wrote and rewrote and rewrote, and I wanted to make sure that I was adding something to the conversation, but made sure I did my homework,” he continued.
All that said, Bon Jovi said he doesn’t want the new album to be mired in politics.
“I’m not taking sides,” he said. “I don’t care about your politics. I care about you just realizing that in a world in which we live, we’re breathing the same air.”
Though largely tame and reasoned in comparison to most, Bon Jovi is just one of many singers to weigh in on the current debate on race relations. Last month, singer Lady Gaga told Billboard in a wide-ranging interview that she has been working hard to undo the white supremacy ingrained in her from birth.
“I am in the process of learning and unlearning things I’ve been taught my whole life,” she said. “When you’re born in this country, we all drink the poison that is white supremacy. Social justice is not just a literacy, it’s a lifestyle.”
Prior to Lady Gaga, singer Demi Lovato told Vogue that she hated knowing that she shared the same skin color as those who have been accused of killing black people.
“All I knew was that I hated that I shared the same skin color as the people accused of committing heinous crimes against Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and many, many other Black lives,” she wrote. “After taking some time to educate myself, what I’ve learned is that to be a good ally, you need to be willing to protect people at all costs. You have to step in if you see something happening that’s not right: a racist act, a racist comment, a racist joke. And it’s not just with Black Lives Matter. It’s also with the Me Too movement. Finally, the world is waking up and it’s beautiful to witness.”
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