A little over three years after Grammy Award-Winning singer/songwriter Elijah Blake released his very powerful single and video for, Hanging Tree. Where he very soulfully sings about the racial and social justices in the black experience still till this day. Even as things have started to get somewhat better, he still questions is he (or really any black man or woman) really free?
The very soulfully passionate emotions and vocals really coming out even more. In this new 2020 more stripped down version that has a more Gospel feel to it with the legendary Gospel singer, Donald Lawrence and his group, Donald Lawrence & Company featured on it. Than the original, which was a more guitar and saxophone-driven record. With a more live instrumentation feel to it, even despite having a choir towards the end of it too.
Crazy enough both records also showing that as much progress has been made. There’s still a lot more that needs to be down to erase the racial and social injustices a lot of the black communities face. With the original being somewhat of a response by Blake to use his voice for equal rights, especially black rights, in the aftermath of tragedies like Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice and so many others whose voices have been silenced as he told The Fader at the time. And now a little over three years later. This new version being a response to use his voice for virtually those same issues and in the wake of the tragedies from some type of police brutality and/or black rights issues. That happened to the likes of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, David McAtee and countless others recently. That has lead to the nationwide protests the last two weeks of America’s fvcked up social, racial and economic injustices towards blacks. Blake had the following to say after also releasing today a just as powerful accompanying Sean Alexander-directed video for the record: