While most other superstar artists are either on vacation, on tour or otherwise removed from the conversation, Prince is spending the summer focused on protest and injustice.
The artist just released the lyric video for "Baltimore," his invective against police brutality that draws attention to the deaths Freddie Gray, Michael Brown and others.
The track, released earlier this year, is one of the most searing protest songs the Minneapolis artist has recorded, and the video is just as pointed. It documents the protests that followed Gray's death in the back of a Baltimore police van, matching shots of frustrated citizens with the artist's lyrical questions. "Are we going to see another bloody day? We're tired of crying and people dying — let's take all the guns away."
As he sings, newspaper headlines flash. Armored police vehicles roll down city streets. Policemen in riot gear prepare for the worst. "Does anybody hear us pray/ For Michael Brown and Freddie Gray?"
Though the song teems with anger, the clip is also filled with hope. The headlines may be bleak but images of the protesters depict energized marchers moving through the streets bent on justice. Black-and-white shots of the police are pitted against full-color photos of peaceful citizens screaming out for justice.
As the song concludes, a quote from Prince comes into view: "The system is broken. It's going to take young people to fix it this time. We need new ideas, new life …"