By Miles Raymer
Updated December 17, 2014 at 05:08 PM EST

The Sunday-night release of D’Angelo’s first album in 14 years, Black Messiah—only a few hours after it was played for journalists and industry at a listening party in Manhattan—was the most surprising surprise album release in the 12 months since Beyoncé’s self-titled LP put the final nail in concept of traditional release dates. In a New York Times article on Black Messiah‘s unconventional release, members of D’Angelo’s team reveals that the singer’s decision to move the release from early 2015 to this week was inspired by a Ferguson, Missouri grand jury’s decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson on murder charges in the death of Michael Brown, and the protests that emerged in its wake.

According to the article, D’Angelo told his tour manager, Alan Leeds, “The one way I do speak out is through music. I want to speak out.”