A 12-year-old gospel singer named Keedron Bryant has written an original song about the heartbreaking realities of being a young black man. During a time of nationwide protests and unrest over police brutality and racial injustice, the boy’s song has become a rallying cry.
Bryant posted the video on Instagram on Wednesday with a simple caption: “just singing what’s on my heart…hope this blesses someone.”
In the song, Bryant sings: “I’m a young black man, doing all that I can to stand. Oh, but when I look around and I see what’s being done to my kind every day, I’m being hunted as prey.”
“My people don’t want no trouble, we’ve had enough struggle. I just want to live. God, protect me, I just want to live,” the song continues.
In the video, Bryant wears a shirt that reads “Black Intelligence” created by a Toronto-based streetwear company. Bryant also shared several hashtags with the video, including #ijustwantolive #blacklivesmatter and #equality.
The a cappella performance has received nearly 2 million views on Bryant’s page has been shared by countless people — including many celebrities. Singer and reality star Kandi Burrus shared a version of Bryant’s song with music produced by Dem Jointz added to it.
Former President Barack Obama called attention to the song in a message he tweeted Friday in response to Floyd’s death. Mr. Obama said a friend of his “used the powerful song that went viral by 12-year-old Keedron Bryant to describe the frustrations he was feeling.”
He continued, “The circumstances of my friend and Keedron may be different, but their anguish is the same. It’s shared by me and millions of others.”
LeBron James, Eva Longoria, David Oyelow and Lupita Nyong’o also shared the video, along with many others. “He should not have to sing this song,” Nyong’o wrote in the caption of her post.
The viral video comes after nationwide calls for justice in the officer-involved killings of George Floyd in Minnesota and Breona Taylor in Kentucky, as well as the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia.
Floyd 46, died on Monday after a police officer kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for several minutes while he cried out that he couldn’t breathe. The incident was caught on video and has sparked nationwide protests. Four officers were fired after Floyd’s death, but many are calling for charges to be brought against them.
Asked about Floyd on Thursday, President Trump said he felt “very, very badly” and called it “a shocking sight.” “I’ve asked the FBI and the Attorney General to take a very strong look and to see what went on, because that was a very, very bad thing that I saw I saw it last night and I didn’t like it,” he said.
But after another night of violence amid the protests in Minneapolis, the president struck a different tone in a tweet calling protesters “THUGS” and warning that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” That language prompted Twitter to add a tag saying, “This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.”