Last month, a preview clip of a sit-down between Mary J. Blige and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton made it’s rounds, which saw Blige singing lyrics from Bruce Springsteen’s “American Skin (41 Shots)” — a song that was created following the tragic death of Amadou Diallo in 1999. Unfortunately, the awkwardness of this exchange (and the unawareness of the song among many of Blige’s fans) led to said clip being roasted on social media…even after the full interview was released.
Now, the world gets to hear Blige’s official cover of “American Skin” in its entirety, which not only brings new light and understanding to a Rock classic, but also features an additional verse from none other than Kendrick Lamar, who adds to the subject matter by speaking on football player Colin Kaepernick (a social activist in his own right):
Gun admitted he bear arm
The entity, arm and leg and head made to destroy
80% of the victim was yours
Maybe I get to relive years of war
Look on the corner, we been here before
Look at the momma, you seen tears before?
Pain bright and early
Rain, sleet, hail, snow, worry
More storm barricade the city
Prosecution, unhung jury
These days murder keep ’em busy
Sweet blood flowed on the gurney
Yellow tape tied around the street
Colin Kaepernick was more than worthy
If anything, this new version of “American Skin” certainly shows how, despite being 15 years old, racial injustice and police brutality is just as much an issue now (if not more) than it was at the turn of the century, thanks to new advances in recorded video and the expansion of social media. It also (probably) caused those who criticised Blige’s use of the song to rethink their opinion.
Check out Mary and Kendrick’s version of “American Skin (41 Shots)” below.