New Music Monday: Taina Asili's #BlackLivesMatter Anthem "Freedom"

Taina Asili y la Banda Rebelde — Photo by Katherine Wright

We feature new music from female-fronted bands every Monday. Today, we’re excited to debut the new music video for “Freedom,” by Taina Asili y la Banda Rebelde

“‘Freedom’ is a musical contribution to the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and it was inspired by the organizing work I do in my community to end mass incarceration and state violence,” says Asili. The video shows a young Black woman running from police after a protest, interspersed with scenes of the same woman portraying a runaway slave fleeing along the Underground Railroad.

Taina Asili has been making music for 20 years—you might have gotten to know her when she fronted the punk band Anti-Product. This song is off her most recent album, Fruit of Hope, which came out in 2014 and is made with La Banda Rebelde, an eight-piece ensemble that combines rock, reggae, and Afro-Latin sounds.  While working as a musician, Asili has also been an anti-incarceration activist. She currently organizes with the Capital Area Against Mass Incarceration in Albany, New York. Members of the group are actors in the music video, too. Asili explains that her activism comes from a personal place, as the  the daughter and sister of two formerly incarcerated men. “I have seen up close the ways the U.S. prison system negatively effects families and communities of color. With this song and video, I hope to bring more awareness to the racism inherent in the prison system, and to inspire people to fight for an end to mass incarceration in this country,” says Asili. 

The song also features Chicano/Mexicano poet and emcee Michael Reyes. Check out the powerful video below and read the lyrics to the song. 


Lyrics to "Freedom"

What do we want? Freedom.

When do we want it? Now!

Prisons are our freedom thieves

decimate communities

destroying our families

leaving no opportunities

Racial caste alive and well

now we’re called a criminal

and we’re seen disposable

millions stuck in America’s hell

Cannot eat the myths they’ve fed

hi-tech cages trillions spent

say no money for children

schools the pipeline to prison

Discriminate legally

employment, to vote, housing,

permanently locks the key

stealing our humanity

But we will evoke the lightning to strike injustice down

we will bring the thunder to break our family out

we will bring the lightning to strike injustice down

we will bring the thunder to break our family out

From the freedom of the beat

to the chains on the feet 

to the mass incarceration 

family separation

immigration

got me chasing liberation

new slaves in a new slave nation

modern day plantation 

making products for a corporation 

black cold chain 

gang gang

bang guns 

bang bang

dope sales

sling that thing

ropes hang 

still slit bang insane

four walls bars chained

two million names

struggled not in vain

so we fight for those things

that we can’t change and so we sing

freedom of the mind

freedom of the soul

freedom of the heart and freedom here we go

battle for the lives and the folks that we know

battle for the seeds and the future that we sow

planting seeds so w can see ‘em grow

lighting through the sky so everybody know

thunder crash live, live from death row

can’t tame the spirit of the fire of the soul

breaking down the laws of the new Jim Crow

But we will evoke the lightning to strike injustice down

we will bring the thunder to break our family out

we will bring the lightning to strike injustice down

we will bring the thunder to break our family out

What do we want? Freedom.

When do we want it? NOW!

by Sarah Mirk
View profile »

Sarah Mirk is Bitch Media's online editor. She's interested in gender, history, comics, and talking to strangers. You can follow her on Twitter

Still Reading? Sign up for our Weekly Reader!

0 Comments Have Been Posted

Add new comment