On May 9, Prince released a song for Freddie Gray, titled “Baltimore.” In it, he expresses support for Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, and gun confiscation.
“Baltimore” begins with, “Nobody got in nobody’s way, so I guess you could say it was a good day.” Prince contrasts that good day with a day lived in Baltimore, then asks, “Does anybody hear us pray for Michael Brown or Freddie Gray? Peace is more than the absence of war.”
In the song’s chorus, Prince wonders aloud if we are “going to see another bloody day,” then adds: “We’re tired of crying and people dying. Let’s take all the guns away.”
The irony of “Baltimore” is that Michael Brown did not lose his life to an armed civilian, but an armed officer. And the grand jury found the officer’s actions were not criminal. Is Prince suggesting that officers should be disarmed?
Moreover, in the Freddie Gray case, we still do not know what happened, but the use of a firearm in any form or fashion has not been alleged. Are we still to respond by taking away the guns of officers and/or officers and civilians?
Prince does not deal with the questions. But in the middle of his song, he hits full protest mode, chanting, “If there ain’t no justice, then there ain’t no peace. If there ain’t no justice, then there ain’t no peace.”
Entertainment Weekly (EW) has already responded to the release of “Baltimore” by describing the song as “absolutely amazing.” EW labels the song a “funky banger that … makes a loud cry for tolerance, equal rights, and justice.” EW does not mention the song’s lack of tolerance for an armed society or its rejection of the Ferguson jury’s decision–i.e., justice–in the Michael Brown incident.
Prince will hold a “Rally 4 Peace” Sunday night at Baltimore’s Royal Farms Arena.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.