Two legendary figures meet in Oakland.
In early June, the New York Times spent a day with R&B singer D’Angelo and Black Panther Party co-founder Bobby Seale as the pair discussed politics, music and the space in between, touching on protests, law enforcement and the role of music plays in spurring social change.
“Now more than ever is the need to sing about it and to write songs about it. And no one’s doing it. There’s only a chosen couple of people. I think it just takes one little snowflake to start a snowball to go down the hill. My contribution and say, Kendrick Lamar’s and some chosen others’ start the snowball. That’s all I can hope for,” says D’Angelo.
“I don’t know if I’m comfortable being quote-unquote a leader. But I do realize and understand that my role as a musician, and in the medium that I am, that people are listening to me. Kids are listening to me. We have power to influence minds and influence lives. So I respect that power. I really do. I’m not putting myself on a pedestal or anything like that. I think that’s dangerous. When you start playing with that, and you’re not careful, you can get yourself into trouble.”
Read the full interview at the Times and watch a video of their meeting below. FACT’s Mikey IQ Jones described Black Messiah as “an album about D’Angelo’s own fight with his inner demons, a collection of songs offered to listeners as a balm to aid their own struggles and frustrations.”