Following the release of “Sandra’s Smile,” New York based artist Devonte Hynes, known as Blood Orange, provided a further look at his poignant lyrics for his tribute to Sandra Bland.
The case of Sandra Bland is by far one of the most aggressively disturbing incidences of rampant police violence against African-Americans within the past year. For those unfamiliar with her story, Sandra Bland was arrested at a traffic stop for a minor violation, then found dead in her jail cell three days later. It is widely speculated that she was indeed murdered by the Texas policemen who arrested her. Bland, a vocal civil rights activist, was 28 at the time of her death.
“Sandra’s Smile” is Hynes’ statement on the sorrow and pain felt by a nation, a somber and thoughtful personification for the #BlackLivesMatter movement. The mood felt in the track is that of melancholy and deep hurt, but more importantly, exhaustion. How many times must we see these headlines, the Eric Garners and Trayvon Martins, until things start to change?
In his Genius annotations, Hynes writes, “I had a somewhat delayed depression upon Sandra’s death. I was hurt and upset and mad instantly, of course… but I think a part of me had my eyes closed, as a form of numbness..a few days later it hit me and i was unconsolable.” He also speaks about the request for Sybrina Fulton‘s forgiveness, as well as identity. Dev Hynes’ sensitivity and insightfulness on the matter helps you to empathize with maybe a sliver of the devastation felt by the families of those victimized by police brutality. As usual, I am continuously amazed and in admiration of Hynes’ artistry and activism, and I therefore I urge to you listen to “Sandra’s Smile.”