Bruce Springsteen has said that the coronavirus outbreak has highlighted the huge divide between the American Dream and the reality of life in the US.
“100,000 plus citizens have died from COVID-19 with only the most tepid and unfeeling response from our White House,” Springsteen said on E Street Radio. (Rolling Stone)
Bruce Springsteen took to the SiriusXM airwaves on Wednesday morning to play songs as part of his ongoing Bruce Springsteen — From His Home to Yours series on E Street Radio and reflect on the protest movement that has erupted all across America in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death. The songs he picked throughout the two-hour broadcast were all about political protest and racial injustice.
He began the show with his 2000 song “41 Shots (American Skin),” which he wrote about the death of unarmed Guinean immigrant Amadou Diallo at the hands of the New York Police Department.
“Eight minutes,” Springsteen said. “That song is almost eight minutes long. That’s how long it took George Floyd to die with a Minneapolis officer’s knee buried into his neck. That’s a long time. That’s how long he begged for help and said he couldn’t breathe. The arresting officer’s response was nothing but silence and weight. Then he had no pulse. And still it went on…May he rest in peace.”
Thank you Bruce. https://t.co/wSR3ZoTuon
— Greasy Lake (@GreasyLake) June 3, 2020
“As we speak, 40 million people are unemployed,” he continued. “100,000 plus citizens have died from COVID-19 with only the most tepid and unfeeling response from our White House. As of today, our black citizens continue to be killed unnecessarily by our police on the streets of America. As of this broadcast, the country is on fire and in chaos.”
He also played the Billie Holiday classic “Strange Fruit.” “One of the darkest songs in the American canon,” Springsteen said. “The video of the death of George Floyd is a 21st century visual lynching and ‘Strange Fruit’ was written about the lynchings about black Americans after the Reconstruction and into the 20 century.”
“There was an op-ed a while back in the New York Times that I would advise every American who cares about his country to read. It is called ‘The America We Need.’ Now let me paraphrase from just a small, small piece of it,” Springsteen said, per USA Today.
“We have not cared for our house very well,” Springsteen said. “There can be no standing peace without the justice owed to every American regardless of their race, color or creed. The events of the last week have once again proved that idea. We need systemic changes in our law enforcement departments and the political will of our national citizenry to once again move forward the kind of changes that will bring the ideals of the civil rights movement once again to life and into this moment.”
Bruce played songs from his personal collection and shared words of encouragement for these tough times in his recent E Street Radio DJ session. Listen back on @siriusxm free through May 15 here: https://t.co/7MLHs6fRnu pic.twitter.com/Qmn0GNArCh
— Bruce Springsteen (@springsteen) April 10, 2020
“Franklin Delano Roosevelt said liberty requires opportunity to make a living, a decent living according to the standard of the time. A living which gives a man or a woman not only enough to live by, but something to live for.
“Now the current pandemic has laid bare the inequalities in wealth and in health that plague our nation. In Michigan, hard-hit by the coronavirus, African-Americans make up 14 percent of the population but 40 percent of the deaths from this disease. So many disenfranchised Americans lack the essential liberty to protect their own lives, and the lives of their families.
Bruce Springsteen encouraged people to distance themselves from social outings on Twitter, and uploaded a full collection of videos from his 2009 London Calling: Live In Hyde Park show for the first time to keep people busy while in isolation.
“This pandemic has shown the great divide between our American dream and American reality, between current America versus the ideals enshrined in our founding documents.”
He added: “Now that’s just a small piece of the editorial, and I hope I didn’t do it a disservice. But all I know is, here in the beginning of the 21st century, in Paterson and other New Jersey cities, in Michigan, in rural America, and all across the United States, this reality is so frustrating that, as the great Marvin Gaye said, we should want to holler.”
The Boss and The E Street Band perform tracks such as The Clash’s “London Calling”, “Badlands”, “Good Lovin'”, “Bobby Jean”, “Born to Run”, “Dancing In The Dark”, and more.