American musician Gary Clark Jr. is tired of being angry about yet another Black person dying following a police encounter.
The 46-year-old Black man was killed while in Minneapolis police custody when a white officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes on May 25.
Through slow and measured speech, Clark contemplated race relations, noting that he was quiet the last few days because he didn’t know what to say.
“I’m tired. I don’t have any more words,” he said.
The Grammy-winner said he already said everything he needed to on his last record.
“I’m tired of crying on TV. I’m tired of being angry. I’m tired of being sad about it. I’m tired of feeling depressed and anxious. I’m f**ked up,” Clark said.
“I feel like every time I walk out of my God damn house, I could die today.”
Clark is a six-foot-four Black man.
“I’m probably some of y’all’s worst nightmare,” he said.
“If you didn’t know me, I’ve seen you walk across the street at night when I’m standing out front of my hotel smoking. I’ve seen you clutch your sh*t on the subway.”
“We just want to wake up in the morning, go and make the most out of what we can, get what we can for ourselves and for our family, and go the f**k back home. That’s all,” he said.
“Why is it so hard? Why is that a worry and a challenge?”
Clark said he doesn’t have answers but thinks white people need to speak out.
“I need y’all to talk to y’all’s people. Like, for real talk to those people. What do you got to lose? You’re going to lose a relationship with somebody who’s got bad energy, whose mentality is twisted?” he said.
“Why don’t y’all stand up to those people?”
The guitarist brought up people who borrow elements of Black culture — jamming to Jimi Hendrix, Kendrick Lamar, Albert King, Robert Johnson and Stevie Wonder — but do not take action when injustice is glaring.
“Y’all praise them on their birthdays and the days that they pass, but where are you standing up when we’re lying on the ground? We’ve got knees in our necks. We’ve got guns pointed at us, unarmed. We’ve got our hands up in the air and they shoot us dead,” Clark said.
“Y’all appreciate us when we’re high and mighty and superstars, but when we need help, you got nothing?”
He noted that there are good people out there that fight for the Black community — allies like his wife, Nicole Trunfio.
“But for those of you who appreciate our culture and use our culture for your own gain and for you to have some sort of self-esteem and feel like you can be somebody out here, then represent for us, man,” Clark said.
“Otherwise, you’re on that side. You got direct access to those people who are f**king it up for everybody. Talk to ’em.”
We need to stop the learned behaviour of racism and raise our children right, Clark said.
“Show them love and light so they can return and be beautiful gifts, man, and share with you what they saw in the world, how they were open and full of love. Let them go out and be a part of the world and work together. That’s how we’ve made it so far,” he said.
“Don’t f**k up the dream for everybody because you can’t say nothing. You don’t get to eat off of us and then leave us to die or just leave us with scraps.”
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