Exemplifying what it means to use art as activism, Beyoncé surprised fans with a new song, "Black Parade," in celebration of Juneteenth weekend. What's more: She dropped the track in tandem with the launch of her initiative to support Black-owned small businesses. "I hope we continue to share joy and celebrate each other, even in the midst of struggle," she captioned a June 19 Instagram post. "Please continue to remember our beauty, strength and power."
The 24-time Grammy winner explained on her website that "Black Parade" benefits BeyGOOD's Black Business Impact Fund, administered by the National Urban League. "Being Black is your activism," she added, before sharing a directory of Black-owned businesses, which was created and curated by Black Owned Everything founder Zerina Akers. "Black excellence is a form of protest. Black joy is your right."
The "Black Parade" lyrics include such lines as: "Judgin', runnin' through the house to my art, all black / Ancestors on the wall, let the ghosts chit-chat," and "We got rhythm, we got pride / We birth kings, we birth tribes / Holy river, holy tongue / Speak the glory, feel the love."
The anthem for Juneteenth, which marks the emancipation of slaves in the U.S., is Beyoncé's first new solo music since she released 2019's The Lion King soundtrack, The Gift. The "Brown Skin Girl" singer also surprised fans in April with a remix to Megan Thee Stallion's "Savage" in support of Bread of Life Houston, an organization assisting with COVID-19 relief in the women's hometown.
Beyoncé has also used her voice most recently to speak out about police brutality, specifically the deaths of George Floyd in Minnesota and Breonna Taylor in Kentucky. Prior to charges being filed against all four former Minneapolis police officers involved in Floyd's May 25 killing, Beyoncé urged her followers to sign various petitions to bring the men to justice in a May 29 Instagram video. Then, on June 14, the singer published a letter to Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron asking for "swift and decisive action" to be taken against the three policemen who were involved in Taylor's death on March 13. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced on June 19 that the city was "initiating termination procedures" against one of the officers, but no charges have been filed.
"Don't let this case fall into the pattern of no action after a terrible tragedy," Beyoncé wrote in her letter to the Kentucky AG. "With every death of a Black person at the hands of the police, there are two real tragedies: the death itself, and the inaction and delays that follow it. This is your chance to end that pattern."