The Lyrics Of Miguel's "How Many" Make A Powerful Statement About The Black Lives Matter Movement — LISTEN
In a week that added the names of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile to the ever growing list of black men and women who've been fatally shot by police officers, the lyrics of Miguel's new song "How Many" create a powerful anthem dedicated to the Black Lives Matter movement. R&B singer Miguel released a rough cut of the song on his SoundCloud page where he revealed the song was written and recorded in his London hotel room between the hours of 4 a.m. and 7 a.m. in response to the events of this week. Miguel promised to update the song every week until it is complete, but the raw version speaks volumes.
"How Many" is full of sadness and anger, but Miguel's anthem is a solemn one. He calls not for more violence, but for people to speak out against the injustice the black community is facing. Miguel begins "How Many" by declaring he cannot sleep, he cannot dream, and he cannot stay silent. "I feel a violence in myself," Miguel sings and there is frustration evident in his words.
When faced with so much violence, it is nearly impossible not to feel violence and anger rise up inside of yourself, but Miguel's song is all about harnessing those feelings and turning them into positive action that can bring change to a system that is broken. He is not calling for violence, but he is calling for people to add their voices to the cries of change. If people speak loud enough, long enough those in power will have no choice but to listen.
"Innocent brothers and sisters it's time to wake up, wake up, wake up," Miguel implores before launching into his refrain which is sure to bring tears to your eyes. "How many black lives?" Miguel asks over and over again, and in the wake of the deaths of Sterling and Castile the refrain hits hard. The two men have become part of a list that includes at least 123 black men and women who have been killed by police fire in 2016 according to The Washington Post.
"It's time to say something, to do something," Miguel sings. The rawness of the lyrics only adds to their resonance. "How Many" is the song people need right now. They need it for the eloquent way it expresses anger, but also for the way it empowers the listener to be part of the change. Miguel's song is not hopeless despite the mounting sorrow and heartbreak that fuels his words.
"How Many" asks a simple, but powerful question, and the answer Miguel gives is more than enough black lives have been taken senselessly. The only thing left to do now is to add your voice to the many other voices calling for a change.