Bruce Springsteen Calls George Floyd Killing a ‘Visual Lynching’
Bruce Springsteen called the police killing of George Floyd a “21st-century visual lynching” and said the U.S. was “haunted by our original sin of slavery.”
On his SiriusXM radio show, the Boss listed a series of social injustices that he argued had to be resolved while he aired a playlist of songs that dealt with racial and political issues.
“As we speak, 40 million people are unemployed,” Springsteen said on the show (via Rolling Stone). “One hundred thousand-plus citizens have died from COVID-19, with only the most tepid and unfeeling response from our White House. As of today, our black citizens continue to be killed unnecessarily by our police on the streets of America. As of this broadcast, the country is on fire and in chaos.”
He opened the show with his song “41 Shots (American Skin),” which was written about the police killing of an unarmed immigrant, Amadou Diallo, in 1999. “That song is almost eight minutes long,” he said. “That’s how long it took George Floyd to die with a Minneapolis officer’s knee buried into his neck. That’s a long time. That’s how long he begged for help and said he couldn’t breathe. The arresting officer’s response was nothing but silence and weight. Then he had no pulse. And still it went on.”
Later, he played “Strange Fruit,” the Billie Holiday song that he called “one of the darkest songs in the American canon." "The video of the death of George Floyd is a 21st-century visual lynching," he said. "'Strange Fruit’ was written about the lynchings about black Americans after the Reconstruction and into the 20th century.”
Springsteen argued that "we remain haunted, generation after generation, by our original sin of slavery. It remains the great unresolved issue of American society. The weight of its baggage gets heavier with each passing generation. As of this violent, chaotic week on the streets of America, there is no end in sight.”
Closing the show, he urged listeners to "stay safe. Stay well. Stay strong. Until we meet again, stay involved. And go in peace.”