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Kendrick Lamar closes show in blood-soaked plea for women’s rights

by Ezekiel J. Walker
Kendrick Lamar closes show in blood-soaked plea for women's rights
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Kendrick Lamar closed out his headline Glastonbury set with an direct plea for women’s rights.

Wearing his heart on his sleeve beyond his illuminating fifth studio album, “Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers,” Kendrick Lamar is living his truths in full view.

The Grammy-winning Gemini, who had initially been announced as part of the lineup for the festival’s 50th anniversary in 2020, finally made his debut on Sunday after pandemic delays.

Per CNN, when Lamar took to the stage at Worthy Farm in Somerset, England, he addressed themes of social injustice, faith, greed, loyalty and prejudice with choreographed performances of tracks such as “N95” and “United in Grief” from the new album as well as older hits like “Humble” and “Alright.”

Kendrick ended his Pyramid Stage set with a rendition of his new song, “Savior,” which touches on politics, Covid and the Black Lives Matter movement, describing it as his “favorite record” off the album.

According to Vogue, Kendrick Lamar was wearing the same diamond-encrusted crown of thorns that he wore on the album cover. The titanium and pavé diamond crown was created by Lamar’s longtime creative collaborator Dave Free and the jeweler Tiffany & Co.

“I wear this crown. They judge Christ. They judge you, they judge Christ,” the 35-year-old musician told the thousands-strong Glastonbury crowd before launching into the number. As he rapped on stage, fake blood poured down his face from the crown, soaking his white shirt.

At the end of the performance, he repeated the chant, “They judge you, they judge Christ. Godspeed for women’s rights,” multiple times before abruptly exiting the stage and leaving his dancers behind.

The closing lyrics, “Godspeed women’s rights”, were added for Sunday night’s performance; which came two days after the US Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to abortion.

British rapper AJ Tracey, who gave a performance of his own on Saturday, said Kendrick Lamar was one of the most important artists of his generation. “When you’re already a good rapper, it’s easy to be on autopilot,” he continued, “but when you stand for something and you push a message, that’s what makes people love you.”

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