Music News: Artists across America share hurt and anger over death of George Floyd


The Current Music News for May 28, 2020. (MPR Video)

Hurt and anger over the death of George Floyd in police custody have spread from Minneapolis around the world. Artists are sharing grief and calls for action in memory of a man who came to the Twin Cities from Houston, where he was a member of the hip-hop scene.

This is an extraordinarily sad time in the Twin Cities. There has been a constant community outpouring of grief and rage since George Floyd, a black man, died in Minneapolis on Monday after a white police officer knelt on his neck. Our colleagues at MPR News have been closely following this story.

George Floyd was known to members of our local music community. He worked as a bouncer at Conga Latin Bistro, a Northeast Minneapolis nightclub. (MPR News) Twin Cities hip-hop artist Maria Isa wrote on Twitter, "RIP Big Floyd. Thanks for treating us like royalty at Conga. This happens to too many people we know in our cities. No 1 deserves that [...] To find out it was the security guard who made us feel safe at Conga just sucks." (Local Current)

Before moving to the Twin Cities with friends in 2014, George Floyd was a member of the Houston hip-hop scene. He was associated with the Screwed Up Click, which Billboard calls "one of the most beloved rap crews in Houston history." It was led by DJ Screw, who pioneered a sound known as "chopped and screwed," where popular songs were slowed down. You can hear Floyd, known as "Big Floyd" both as a rapper and to his Minneapolis friends and co-workers, on tracks including "Sittin' on top of the World."

Musicians in Minnesota, across America, and in fact around the world have shared grief and anger over George Floyd's death. Cardi B, Snoop Dogg, Ariana Grande, Ice T, Ice Cube, Madonna, Common, Billie Eilish, Justin Bieber, Zoe Kravitz, and Taylor Swift are just a few of the music stars who've spoken out. Many shared illustrations of George Floyd and quoted his pained last words. (Billboard, ET)

Here in Minnesota, artists and community members have been sharing the same images and words, as well as, in many cases, adding their voices to calls for charges against the officers involved and sharing connection and concern for fellow community members. Artists including Dua Saleh are retweeting calls for help and action, and Dessa shared a hand-printed sign: "Justice is what love looks like in public. Black Lives Matter."

We'll leave you with an image of Beyoncé’s homepage, as it appeared yesterday. (Billboard)

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