On the evening of Juneteenth, Beyoncé released a surprise song that shed light on racial injustice, police brutality, and inequality.
The song, “Black Parade,” serves as Beyoncé’s first official solo release since the 2019 Homecoming album, which featured her live Coachella performance from 2018.
Backed by trap-inspired production, Beyoncé delves in between singing and rapping melodically, “I’m for us, all black All chrome, Black-owned /black tints, matte black…Drip all on me, woo, Ankh or the Dashiki print/Hol’ up, don’t I smell like such a nag champa incense?”
She suggests that Blacks are often hated due to the greatness of Black culture and its history by singing, “I can’t forget my history is her-story/yeah, Being Black, maybe that’s the reason why they always mad/Yeah, they always mad, yeah/Been past ’em, I know that’s the reason why they all big mad/And they always have been.”
Beyoncé also pays homage to the recent protests that continue following the death of George Floyd. “Trust me, they gon’ need an army (Ah)/rubber bullets bouncin’ off me (Ah)/made a picket sign off your picket fence (Ah)/take it as a warning (Ah, ah), waist beads from Yoruba (Woo), four hunnid billi’, Mansa Musa,” she sings.
She also mentions Malcolm X, Curtis Mayfield, Tamika Mallory, and her mother, Tina Knowles, before hinting at the need for reparations.
“Black love, we gon’ stay together/Curtis Mayfield on the speaker (Woo)/Lil’ Malcolm, I miss ’em, momma Tina (Woo)/Need another march, lemme call Tamika (Woo)/Need peace and reparation for my people (Woo),” she sings.
Beyoncé also introduced her new website, Black Parade Route, an online directory of Black-owned businesses.
“Being Black is your activism. Black excellence is a form of protest. Black joy is your right,” Beyoncé wrote on a tagline on her website.
Listen to “Black Parade” below: