Ledisi Speaks Out With Politically Charged ‘I Can’t Breathe’


With the list of hashtags steadily growing and the unrest building in Black communities, more and more musicians are using their voices to speak out against the injustices currently being perpetrated in American society. Many of our favorites have contributed conscience-stirring songs and anthems, and now we can add vocal powerhouse Ledisi to the number. The soulful songstress, whose voice landed her the role of gospel legend and voice of the civil rights movement Mahalia Jackson in Selma, contributes her own freedom song with touching new ballad, "I Can't Breathe."

Rather than over-producing the track, Ledisi and production team Butta-N-Biskit go for understated piano — provided by Keith "Butta" Justice — to provide accompaniment to her voice. "Tell me what is going on / Time is passing, but the pain from the past lives on," Ledisi begins as she questions the state of the world. Then on the chorus, she transforms Eric Garner's final words into a dynamic statement, singing, "I can't breathe / In a world scared of love, where freedom isn't free / I can't breathe." Though the words aren't necessarily her own — they're written by her frequent collaborator Angel Lea Higgs  — Ledisi pours all her emotion and heart into the words, making sure that each question is heard and each observation is deeply felt.

Writing about the song, Ledisi said, "This song had to be sung. Had to be heard. Thank you to all involved to make it live. Now out into the world it goes. With love, prayers and a passionate plea."

Listen to Ledisi's plea for change below. For more music made specifically for the cause, check out SoulBounce's Movement Music playlist.

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