“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth.” -By William Faulkner
There are generational voices that you wish would be added to America’s shifting. Those that are powerfully used to get us in a groove and undeniably soul-stirring. Those that are so rich with the spirit of our ancestors that we desire to hear them vocalized more than songs about erotic love and pleasure, fun and joviality. Certain voices feed our hunger for something more than another body —but for our people.
Tyrese has been one of those voices.
We first fell in love with his beautiful voice in 1995. He was the brother who sang blissfully on the bus, about a cola as brown as he was complected.
Reflecting back, watching the Coke commercial today, the same level of joy is not there. The mind tells you, that had this not been a million-dollar commercial for one of America’s most intoxicating brand —where it made sense to fetishize a Black man with cocoa butter all in his voice— he would have been shot dead for disturbing the peace right at the foot of a seat that Mama Rosa raised her voice in protest for.
And so with his new song, “Legendary,” featuring Cee-Lo Green, Tyrese has raised his voice unafraid with an honest and truthful song about injustice. He has also lent his talent to an accompanying short film directed by Deon Taylor, titled 8:46, that without much choreography or artificial pretense unpacks the earth’s need to be compassionate and to raise voice against lies, greed, hate, and racism; the tri-pack of ugliness that has fueled this season of unrest.
It is utterly beautiful, disruptive and an outpouring of the spiritual projectile that comes out of the bowels of oppression.
It is intense as you would imagine Tyrese to be, but as necessary to the conversation as any politicians’ speech, BLM protestors’ bullhorn and the love songs that have in the past helped us get through the bullsh*t we experience day-in and day-out.
“Legendary” with its powerful lyrics, graphic and (damn there is only one word) disruptive imagery and the pureness of heart is oxygen to the struggle, the balm of understanding in Black people’s Gilead and articulation of our very historical but urgently current pain.