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A video is making its way around social media, featuring songstress Jill Scott performing a 32 year old anthem that she wrote at the age of 19, at her “This Is Jill Scott” 23rd anniversary tour.
With ancestors providing background vocals, she painfully sings:
“Oh can you see by the blood in the streets, this place doesn’t smile on you colored child. Whose blood built this land with sweat and their hands. But we’ll die in this place and your memory erased. Oh say, does this truth hold any weight. This is not the land of the free but the home of the slaves!!!!”
Jill Scott’s revolutionary remix of the Star Spangled Banner is used as an intro to her song “Watching Me” during her live sets.
Jill Scott has been unapologetic throughout her career
Jill Scott debuted as a singular artist with her platinum-selling R&B album Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds, Vol. 1 on July 18, 2000.
Since then, she has become a cultural icon of healing power and serenity, pursuing a career as an actress in projects like The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, First Wives Club and Black-ish, winning a Grammy for her second album and publishing a poetry collection.
Scott got her start as a spoken-word poet; her interest in exploring multiple different aspects of her creativity has never been in question. But fame, she said, is also not something she chased, according to TIME. “I didn’t do this, this art, for fame. It’s never been an interest of mine. I’ve done this because it felt right to my soul,” she said. “My second album was called Beautifully Human, which is the goal, isn’t it?”
“We can’t ignore what is happening in this country. It’s impossible. And to see people motivated to speak up, speak out, rise up, fight back and not sit down is motivational. And I enjoy being a part of it,” she said during a TIME100 Talks discussion.
“I think it’s important that actors create plays and movies and films. And dancers dance out frustration. And writers write. And singers sing. And for people who’ve always been aware of what’s happening in society to continue to speak out, and continue to move forward. There’s a real possibility for this country to actually be great,” she said.