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Grammy award-wining trumpeter Keyon Harrold is from Ferguson, Mo. Before the shooting of Michael Brown—the African American teenager shot and killed due to police violence—on Aug. 9, 2014, that fact wouldn’t have been particularly notable. But today, with racial tensions brought to the forefront of political conversations and the recent white nationalist-based violence in Charlottesville, Va., it’s more important than ever to acknowledge such details as we try to continue to have open and peaceful dialogues on race relations in America.
Harrold, a noted instrumentalist and composer who has worked with JAY-Z, Maxwell, Common, D’angelo and the Vangaurd and more, announced his forthcoming album, The Mugician by releasing a mournful ode to Brown called “MB Lament.” Although Harrold has forged a career writing, performing and producing pop, rock, R&B and hip-hop tracks, this particular song sinks deeply into jazz traditions. The main muted horn line seems to symbolize so many elements of African American history in the United States—from the unjust, yet continued suppression to the immense, invaluable musical and cultural contributions.
On the YouTube page for the “MB Lament” video, Harrold elaborates:
In tribute to the many unarmed woman, men, and children killed tragically and unjustifiably before their time.
When will this disregard for humanity stop? When will the lives of all races, all creeds, all religions, all classes and all sexual orientations be valued equally? When will their loss be an outrage to all Americans?
Rest in peace and love. Your loss is not in vain. It is a reminder of the work ahead for all of us.
Take a listen to “MB Lament” below and stay tuned for The Mugician, due out Sept. 29 via Legacy Recordings/Mass Appeal Records.