In the light of the most recent, brutal and unnecessary deaths of innocent black people by police, there has been a renewed outcry, another resurgence of protest and solidarity from the world, and rightly so.
New York-based musician Benjamin Verdoes penned an important auditory comment on this very topic in the wake of the Ferguson killings last year, and as sad as it is, "Policeman" will remain relevant for the tragic, foreseeable future - a recurring soundtrack.
The track is stripped back, with just guitar and vocals -- chilling, honest, and accompanied by home-video footage of life with his younger brother and sister to communicate an overwhelmingly powerful message.
Real, heartfelt emotion permeates the track, vocals nearly screaming, and then utterly tender. Stop and listen - it deserves it.
"It is heartbreaking that I have to tell my brother to be cautious around the police. I remind him often that there are people that would go out of their way to harm or to kill him based on the color of his skin. There are many more who would do nothing to protect or defend him if he were in trouble. The same is true for my wife, sister, brother in-law, and other loved ones. Because I am white I am rarely, if ever, concerned for my safety. I do not worry about being profiled and harmed by police. I do not have to fear for my life. I am not expected to be a criminal, an underachiever, or dangerous. People do not placate me and demean me with insults or false praise because of my race. I am not caricatured, undervalued, or objectified. I am not continually given the message that my experience is untrue or irrelevant.
I wrote this song in the weeks after the murder of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Each reference in the song is tied to a story of police violence that actually happened to loved-ones or has been reported in the media. They are all recent.