Courtesy Photo: Sofia Pok
Usher Releases Emotional New Song "I Cry," Inspired By Black Lives Matter
Pop and R&B icon Usher has released "I Cry," an emotional yet hopeful new song inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and the recent global protests in response to the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and other Black U.S. citizens by police.
Released Friday (June 26) on RCA Records, the soulful, piano-fueled pop ballad sees the eight-time GRAMMY winner crooning personal lyrics about his own vulnerabilities.
"I can't keep it together / I usually don't show my emotions," he sings at the beginning of the song.
"I cry / For the sons without fathers / And the pain that the mothers / Hold deep inside / And I'll fight / For the future we're making / It can change if we face it / 'Cause these tears won't dry."
In a Twitter post announcing the song, Usher wrote that "I Cry" was inspired "by wanting to teach my sons that it is OK for a man to feel emotions deeply and to cry." He goes on to note that he, "like many men," was reared to be "tough" and to not show his vulnerability, a trait he did not want to pass on to his children. He also said he "became very connected to the wider universal feeling of hopelessness" as he watched the killing of Floyd, the "ongoing slaughter of Black men and women" and the consequential protests and responses, all while quarantining due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"Like many, I grew increasingly frustrated by how slow things have been to change," Usher wrote. "I became very depressed thinking about all sons who have lost their fathers to police brutality, social injustice and violence; the daughters and mothers too. So I returned to this song and realized it was intended for this time … "
Usher is donating his proceeds from "I Cry" to Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), "one of the nation's largest nonprofits investing in underserved communities and communities of color across the country," according to a press release announcing the song. The organization also provides grants to minority-owned small businesses that have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This Saturday (June 27), Usher will perform the live debut of "I Cry" at Global Goal: Unite for Our Future - The Concert, a globally televised and digitally streamed special highlighting the "disproportionate impact COVID-19 has on marginalized communities—including people of color, those living in extreme poverty, and others facing discrimination," according to a statement. The event will also feature performances from Shakira, J Balvin, Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Hudson, Migos rapper Quavo, Christine and the Queens, Coldplay and more.
Earlier this year, Usher, alongside Sheila E. and FKA twigs, honored late musical icon Prince at the 2020 GRAMMYs with a medley performance of the Purple One's hits; the performance was later aired as part of the epic "Let's Go Crazy: The GRAMMY Tribute To Prince" concert special.