When it comes to the soundtrack of our current time as a Black community, we’ve heard songs and visuals ranging from wishing for peace to fighting for it at all costs. We’ve watched Black deaths at the hands of law enforcement continue and government officials seemingly drag themselves toward a response out of extreme reaction. Like the rest of all, Usher has been one of the many artists who witnessed this unfold on television and the internet, creating a variety of emotions over the situation and its effects on his children. As such, he’s released a new single titled “I Cry,” which he further explained on social media:
“This song was inspired by wanting to teach my sons that it is ok for a man to feels emotions deeply and to cry. Like many men, I was raised to believe that we have to be “tough” and not show our vulnerability, which I don’t want to teach them. While I was shut in during the pandemic and watching the death of George Floyd, the ongoing slaughter of Black men and women, the protests and the events that unfolded, I became very connected to the wider universal feeling of hopelessness. Like many, I grew increasingly frustrated by how slow things have been to change. I became very depressed thinking about all sons who have lost their father’s to police brutality, social injustice and violence; the daughters and mothers too. So I returned to this song and realized it was intended for this time, so I finished it and hear it is.”
Press play on Usher’s “I Cry” below. Added to the message, the proceeds from “I Cry” — which sees production from Jeff “Gitty” Gitelman and Nasri — will be donated to Local Initiatives Support Corporation, which assists in regards to “affordable housing, high-quality schools, safer streets, growing businesses and programs that connect people with financial opportunity.” You can read more on the initiative here.