Grammy winner and philanthropist Usher hosted a press conference this past Tuesday. The event was powered by Tidal and took place on Georgia State University in Georgia. Students were welcomed into the event free of charge to hear Usher speak about social injustice, police brutality, and his newest single, “Chains.”
In wake of ongoing acts of police brutality and social injustice, Usher has made it a priority to address such issues with his song “Chains” featuring rapper Nas and Bibi Bourelly. When asked what the motivation was behind the song, he replied, “It was me taking a look at the reality of what conversations were going on in the world [and] turning on the radio and what dialogue is going on. I was looking at CNN. I look at local news shows. Whatever it may be, it was very blatantly obvious that we began to deal with issues of not only police brutality, but people being a victim of a system that probably needs to be addressed.”
He continued, “‘Chains’ for me was an opportunity to use my platform for something other than wealth. For something other than the excitement. For something other than the opulent side of what it is to be an entertainer. So, I decided to open the issue, open a dialogue about something that I think needed to be talked about.”
He later explained the importance of utilizing the platforms we are given to help progression in our society. “If we don’t use these platforms, we don’t begin to change our idea of what’s a priority. It could be the fact that I’m just getting a little bit older and I’m now becoming a little bit more responsible as a person because I do want to change the reality of my children’s future or someone who might be less fortunate. I don’t know. But I do know that I am affected in a way that I feel like I needed to do something,” he said.
It’s no secret that some police officers abuse their power; however, not all police are bad. Usher stated, “In terms of police brutality, not every police officer is a bad one; but, there are a ton of men and women who may be moving in fear. Fear for the fact that [police] could potentially take their life or fear that you pose a threat to them.”
Undoubtedly, the music industry has a critical role with its influence on society. Usher commented on the role that artists and influential persons in the music industry have on social justice saying, “As long as you have the ability to influence one person, that’s all you need. What do we, as a collective, choose to rally our focus on? It’s like issues arrive and all of a sudden we get very mad, angry, and we protest. And then it’s, ‘Well, let’s just move on to the next thing.’ We have to be consistent. We have to be more diligent in our focus, in our commitment. It’s a matter of you making it a priority.”-kira demund