Ignore the Mullet & This Song Remains Relevant: “Bad” and Race Relations in America

I’m not one who reflects back on music from past decades. It may pass through my ears every one in awhile, and I respect that it has influenced me and my life, but I try to always move forward. Seeking new bands, music and albums is my main approach to music. Today a song from my past came on, and I literally stopped everything and listened to the lyrics and heard them from a new angle, just as relevant as it was when it was written in 1984.

U2 gets a bad rap. Perhaps their new music is redundant of what they produced in the past, and yes, Bono does have a massive ego. That said, it is almost inarguable that the song Bad still resonates with the same passion and insight that it had when it was produced over 30 years ago.It expresses the universal angst and frustration over being fully aware of a problem and feeling helpless to intercede.

Bad was written to rally people to end the heroine epidemic that was sweeping through the band’s hometown, Dublin. Over the years it has been used as a battle cry for numerous other causes including Live Aid (benefiting AIDS victims in Africa).

Race relations, diversity initiatives and the frustration that I don’t understand how to make a positive difference have been rattling around my brain throughout my life. The intensity of these issue has revved up over the past couple of years due to police violence, the We Need Diverse Books campaign, and the Black Lives Matter campaign. It feels like as soon as a discussion is started, it is brushed away by whatever the next most news worthy event is. Race issues have been forefront on my mind again after reading All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely.

Today I heard these words:

If you should ask then maybe they’d
Tell you what I would say
True colors fly in blue and black
Bruised silken sky and burnin’ flag
Colors crash collide in blood shot eyes

If I could, you know I would
If I could, I would, let it go
This desperation, dislocation
Separation, condemnation
Revelation in temptation
Isolation, desolation

Let it go and so fade away
Let it go and so fade away
I’m wide awake, I’m wide awake
Wide awake, I’m not sleeping, oh no, no, no

THIS IS WHAT I’VE BEEN TRYING TO SAY! I may not know how I can affect change, but I’m awake, I’m listening and damn- I wish that we could make these problems fade away.

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