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What The Game’s Been Missing: A Blues For Trayvon


Yesterday I had no idea what to write for this column. I couldn't front and write in my normal glib
manner about the music industry because one news story -- one -- gripped my heart and mind for the
past two weeks.

Trayvon Martin.
Center

Just typing his name gives me the chills. In the weeks following the death of the Florida teen, it has
been hard to turn away from the story, not because it has been all over the news (coverage of his
passing only hit larger news outlets in the past week), but because his story hits so close to home.
Many of us have brothers, uncles, cousins, fathers, and friends who could have been Trayvon -- killed
for what I believe to be the reasons of black, male, and "suspicious." His story picked up steam due
to the insistence of people on social networks that his death not be in vain. Facebook, Twitter, and
Change.org have been ablaze with people offering their support, and reports from the
Huffington Post ensured that his story was not forgotten. Steadily, Trayvon has been given the same
spotlight that the Kony 2012 campaign received, and it shed light on the dangerous laws which are
complicit in his death and allow his killer to walk free.

Throughout the push to bring awareness and justice for Trayvon's case, it's been difficult to toggle
between the need to continue to live in the present, and the unshakeable anger and sadness that this
issue has raised for everyday black folks who wonder if we could be next. This cognitive dissonance
reminded me of the power of the blues, its reflection of deep pain and determination, and I realized that
the spirit of the blues is something that is missing in the music game right now. Too much of what we
listen to on the radio doesn't reflect real life.

The blues is about telling the truth. The blues requires you to confront the bitterness where you find it,
like Billie Holiday did in "Strange Fruit," or to fight the powers that be like Public Enemy encouraged us to
do. The blues is not only a musical genre, but it's a way of dealing with tragedy in a way that maintains your
dignity. Trayvon Martin's life and death reminds me of the blues, and I will never forget him.


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  • SugaHoneyIceT

    Thanks for post your sentiment in regards to the Trayvon. Its an unfortunate incident but a necessary dose of reality as to where we are in the world and should be reason for us realize we cannot get complacent on issues like this.

  • niknal

    well said.

  • bella_noir

    Amen, sis. Amen

  • Tiffani

    as mother of a 16 yr old boy who often wears only his hoodie..and walks everywhere...my heart literally aches for his family.I listened to a live recording of Marvin singin Whats goin on...couldnt stop tears..song older than I addresses our times so aptly...

  • Sdeez3

    Great Post Nubian Empress,
    I must say i'm at a loss of words concerning this incident as I am an older male who also wears a hoody daily dealing with the constant BS I encounter every once in a while in the streets traveling to and from work. My heart actually aches for what this family is going through right now and hoping that this will never happen to none of my nephews during their lifetime as that will push me to the breaking point of no return. SugaHoneyIceT said it best here: "This should be the reason for us to realize we cannot get complacent on issues like this" and i'm praying that justice will prevail for Trayvon Martins family.

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