Though the bulk of the protests in June in response to the murder of George Floyd have subsided, the fight remains. Justice for Breonna Taylor and the many other POC who have wrongly died at the hands of police are still called for, and artists like Tom Morello, Imagine Dragons’ Dan Reynolds, The Bloody Beetroots & activist Shea Diamond are doing their part with a new collab called “Stand Up.”
The lyrics are hardly veiled, with lines like “When I call the police will they just kill me? / Will they just kill you? /
When I call the police will they just protect me cause I’m white skinned too?” The message is clear as day.
All four artists will be donating 100% of their proceeds from “Stand Up” to the following organizations: NAACP, Know Your Rights Camp, Southern Poverty Law Center, and the Marsha P. Johnson Institute – all of whom Morello hails “are doing great work combating racism, injustice, and police brutality.” KIDinaKORNER/Interscope will additionally donate an amount equal to the artists’ record royalties derived from streams of the track for a 3-year period.
On song’s genesis, Morello says:
“I grew up in the tiny lily white, archly conservative town of Libertyville, Illinois. When I was a kid, someone hung a noose in my family’s garage, there was occasional N-word calling, etc, etc. On June 6 of this year, there was a Black Lives Matter rally and march in that same town that drew over 1,000 people.
It seems that the times, they are a’changin’. I was so inspired that night, I reached out to Dan from Imagine Dragons. The Bloody Beetroots and I had conjured a slamming track and within 24 hours Dan had sent back a completed vocal. We got Shea Diamond, a Black transgender woman with a long history of activism, on the track and the coalition was complete.”
Reynolds adds of the song’s urgency:
“When Tom reached out to work together with Shea Diamond and The Bloody Beetroots on this track I immediately went up into my room and wrote/sang the chorus and verse that day. This country certainly needs fixing, and I believe it will take people from all sides and colors to fix it.”
The Bloody Beetroots’ Bob Rifo on the track’s purpose:
“I was in my third month of quarantine and I was waiting for the right opportunity to present itself to reconnect to the world when Tom called me to work on ‘Stand Up.’ It is during times of turmoil and upheaval that we musicians have the responsibility to accelerate change with a loud and strong message for a better present and future. Today we can change this planet. This is our time. This is our turn.”
Diamond on allyship and her involvement on the song:
“When I hear people talking about being allies of the LGBTQ+ community, mainly in the Black and Trans community, it’s almost laughable. We watch them profit from our pain, making these surface level posts of solidarity – especially in music. When I think about Black Lives Matter and Trans Lives Matter, you don’t get to see any representations of collaborations – many would never share a post, let alone do a song together. So when I heard Dan Reynolds wanted me on his song, I nearly flipped. I wasn’t surprised, though – he’s been so intentional in sharing posts, helping to raise money within our community and more. He really puts the A in ally!!! This is a proud moment in music history, and I feel honored to be a part of such an important song during this climate… we need to know where everyone stands in the music community, as music is an essential tool that can change the hearts and minds of so many.”