In honor of what would have been his 62nd birthday on June 7, Prince’s estate released the lyric video for his 2015 song commemorating the black victims of police brutality titled “Baltimore.” The video was released in response to the recent wave of Black Lives Matter protests.
The over four-minute video features images and information regarding Freddie Gray’s death, as well as photos of protests stemming from the tragedy and headlines about Prince’s philanthropic efforts during that period. He spoke out about a broken system during a Baltimore area concert called “Rally 4 Peace” in May 2015.
“Does anybody hear us pray? For Michael Brown or Freddie Gray?” The Purple One says in the song. “Peace is more than the absence of war,” he continues.”
Gray’s death was caused by injuries of his spinal cord. He was being transported to the hospital in a police van after being arrested by the Baltimore Police Department, but the circumstances behind how he got his life-ending injuries were initially unclear to the public. His death was ruled a homicide, and the six Baltimore police officers involved in his death were suspended without pay.
“It’s going to take young people to fix [the world],” Prince said during the Rally 4 Peace concert in 2015. “We need new ideas, new life. Most of all, we need new piece. And the kind of piece I’m talking about is spelled ‘P-I-E-C-E.’ Next time I come to Baltimore, I want to stay in a hotel owned by one of you. I want to play in a building owned and operated by one of you. I’m talking to the young people now.”
Prince’s estate also released a timely statement written by the late musician, which read “Nothing more ugly in the whole wide world than INTOLERANCE (between) Black, white, red, yellow, boy or girl. INTOLERANCE.” Per the caption of the Instagram post featuring his words, his estate wrote “Prince dedicated his life to speaking out against injustice, advocating for black excellence, and spreading the message of ‘Love 4 One Another.’ In this note that he kept in his personal archives, he wrote a message that still resonates today.”