The song is written from the view of a mother whose child was shot.

By Nick Romano
June 19, 2020 at 09:58 AM EDT
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In response to police brutality against Black people in the country, which has been the subject of on-going protests in recent weeks, Alicia Keys dropped "Perfect Way to Die," a powerful, poignant ballad written from the perspective of a grieving mother whose child was gunned down.

"I have felt called by music like I never have before," Keys wrote in a message on social media. "I have been following its lead.⁣⁣ It has led me to the song 'A Perfect Way to Die.' The song title is so powerful and heartbreaking because WE are heartbroken by so many who have died unjustly."

"Of course, there is NO perfect way to die," she continued. "That phrase doesn’t even make sense. Just like it doesn’t make sense that there are so many innocent lives that should not have been taken from us due to the destructive culture of police violence. Sometimes I don’t have the words and music is the only thing that can speak.⁣ I hope this speaks to you.⁣⁣ I hope one day this song won’t be so relevant.⁣⁣ Let’s NEVER stop fighting for justice."

On May 25, George Floyd, 46, a Black man from Minneapolis, died after a police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. His death — along with many others, including the shooting of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky., by police — refueled Black Lives Matter protests and calls for police reform.

In "Perfect Way to Die," written by Sebastian Kole, Keys sings, "Simple walk to the corner store/ Momma never thought she would be getting a call from the coroner/ Said her son's been gunned down, been gunned down/ 'Can you come now?’/ Tears in her eyes/ ‘Can you calm down? Please, ma'am, can you calm down?’"

Keys' new album ALICIA was initially planned for a March drop, but the artist announced it would be postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"Perfect Way to Die" arrives on Juneteenth, the anniversary of the abolishment of slavery in America.

To help combat systemic racism, please consider donating to these organizations:

  • Campaign Zero, which is dedicated to ending police brutality in America through research-based strategies.
  • Color of Change, which moves decision-makers in corporations and government to be more responsive to racial disparities.
  • Equal Justice Initiative, which works to end mass incarceration, excessive punishment, and racial inequality.

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