Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Celisse Henderson released a powerful new single and music video for “FREEDOM” on Friday afternoon. Best known for her work with Ghosts of the Forest and Jon Batiste, Celisse’s new song marks her first solo studio output since 2013 and arrived as a call-to-action for the millions around the world protesting the unjust killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd.
The music video starts with clips of The Great March on Washington and the Martin Luther King Jr. quote, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Celisse then appears on screen with dozens of televisions behind her projecting more images of The March on Washington. Throughout the music video are images of different protests and marches from around the country all while Celisse sings truth to power: “We hurt just like you / We bear the shoulders of truth / We’re told this land is for you and I / Then why are we the ones to die”
Celisse explained in the video description for “FREEDOM”,
I wrote the song FREEDOM immediately after Philando Castille and Alton Sterling both lost their lives within 24 hours of one another in July of 2016. I, along with millions of people, watched video footage of these unarmed black men losing their lives in the most horrific ways. The truth that these unjust deaths revealed about our country, including the systemic failings of our criminal justice system, became my personal call-to-action. Then the 2016 election night happened, and the results added a whole new layer to the purpose of this song and project. Now, almost four years later, too little has been done, and the story remains the same. With the horrific and unjust killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd weighing heavily on our hearts and minds, it is time to release FREEDOMas a rallying cry and a call to action to stand up and fight for our freedom.
Her Ghosts of the Forest bandmate, Trey Anastasio, made sure to comment on the video in a Facebook post: “love you so much Celisse! So proud to be your friend, your bandmate, and your fan. Thank you. I can open my heart and mind, I can listen and learn, and I can vote for leaders who fight for racial equality.”
Along with the video, Celisse compelled viewers to get involved by volunteering and donating their time. Watch and listen to “FREEDOM” below, and head to her website for more information on what you can do to make a difference.
Celisse – “Freedom” – [Official Music Video]