Impassioned singer/songwriter Elijah Blake mourns the treacherous history of black death in his new video for "Hanging Tree." "Who's going to protect us from the police?" he questions while belting out for mercy from the pangs of racial violence. In the video, Blake's back is covered in bloody wounds, reminiscent of the scars that his ancestors bore in bondage. The song and visual come from renowned social justice activist Harry Belafonte's Sankofa Organization. With the initiative, Belafonte and other artists are helping to uplift the voices and causes of marginalized people.
"I wrote “Hanging Tree” as a way to use my voice for equal rights, especially black rights, in the aftermath of tragedies like Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice and so many others whose voices have been silenced," Blake told The FADER over email.
"When I recorded this song, I wanted to have a way to express my feelings, despite at the time not having an album to attach this to. I was lucky that a friend of mine introduced me to the work the Sankofa organization is doing and it really resonated with me. I felt their work embodied the same message I wanted to convey with this song. As a result, the Sankofa organization and I have combined efforts to spread this important message of equality through this amazing video, as well as through their EP17 Project, where the song was originally released."