Prince Releases Baltimore Protest Song; Concert Rocks the City

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I didn’t get to go to Prince’s concert in Baltimore last night, but my friends who went pronounced it “f***ing awesome.”

Just before the concert, Prince released “Baltimore,” a funky, soulful protest song that references Michael Brown and Freddie Gray. He played that song at the concert, along with a number of hits, including “Controversy,” “Little Red Corvette,” and “Purple Rain.”

But the show was much more than just a musical celebration; in between songs Prince called out the “broken” system, invited prosecutor Marilyn Mosby onto stage, and encouraged a “No Curfew” chant at the end of the show. Though the concert was not without its critics, Prince seemed to handle things thoughtfully and respectfully throughout: He brought a handful of people in $22 nosebleed seats into the first row, where tickets cost nearly $500. He invited the family members of Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, and Eric Garner to hang out backstage with him, Beyonce, and Alicia Keys. He cheered for Baltimore’s black business owners, and donated concert proceeds to charities serving local youth. In summation: I love Prince.

As I listened to the livestream of the concert’s first hour, I got tears in my eyes every time the 14,000-strong crowd started chanting “Baltimore.” While there’s so much deep-rooted and heartbreaking trouble in the city, there’s also this amazing bedrock of pride and strength and celebration. I hope we can channel that energy forward into a better Baltimore for everyone.

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  1. The history of humanity has shown that every single culture, race, and/or ethnicity on earth has oppressed another group of people at some point. It is pointless to dwell and point fingers to what was done in a different era of the past (i.e., the NY Times citing the 1910 ordinance). This type of negativity written by self promoting hypocrites does nothing but perpetuate resentment and mistrust among people today. If anyone truly cares about fairness and equality, then the editorial focus should be on taking what we have achieved so far with civil rights in this nation and improving upon it for the betterment of all. We still have a long way to go. Let’s pave the road of the future with optimism and innovative ideas (and news reports of progress) rather than looking back to the past and fanning the flames of anger and hate.

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