Most of the music I listen to isn't responding to a society-shifting event that's literally just happened—in fact, most music isn't even trying to do that. I often struggle to string together coherent thoughts about everyday injustices without repeating myself or, more commonly, repeating the words of other, smarter people. With that in mind, I don't expect musicians to crank out work constantly in order to comment on everything that happens. When an artist instead distills down generations of knowledge about, say, economic inequality and racism, the songs that result will be deeply felt—and no matter how long they take to make or how often they come out, they might even seem prescient.
Three days before Juneteenth 2020, Ric Wilson dropped "Fight Like Ida B and Marsha P," a radical call to action with an irrepressible melody. Wilson raps about abolishing ICE, freeing imprisoned trans people, and defunding the police atop a lean, funky bass line, and his smooth delivery recalls his sumptuous turn on They Call Me Disco, his recent collaborative EP with Terrace Martin. On the hook, Wilson celebrates the Black women central to his activism, including gay rights activist and Stonewall instigator Marsha P. Johnson, prison abolitionist Mariame Kaba, and journalist and early civil rights leader Ida B. Wells. "Fight Like Ida B and Marsha P" encourages listeners to educate themselves about radical movements to build the coalition of Wilson's dreams. The song captures the exuberant communal energy that buoyed so many protests this past summer, but it's not the work of a moment: Crista Noël, founder of Women's All Points Bulletin (a nonprofit supporting women who've survived police violence), recorded her spoken-word contribution more than five years ago. And Wilson's song will remain poignant and relevant for as long there's injustice to fight.
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