Miguel Shares New Song Asking “How Many Black Lives Does it Take to Wake a Change?”

In the wake of the killings of Philando Castile in Minnesota and Alton Sterling by police in Louisiana — both by multiple gunshot wounds — following the persistence and repetition of murders of so many other black people by the forces that purportedly protect, various artists have come forth with words and new work responding to the country’s latest displays of injustice and oppression. Earlier today, Jay Z released the track, “Spiritual,” and now Miguel has shared a demo for a new song called “How Many.”

The song, Miguel says on Soundcloud, was written sometime between 4 and 7 a.m. from London, in a hotel room — and he says he’ll “update this song every week until its complete.” The lyrics speak to the state he was in while writing it, beginning with, “I cannot sleep/I cannot rest,” before he echoes the overarching sentiment (at least, among those who aren’t more concerned with their own comfort) of being “tired of people being turned into hashtags.” He asks, “How many black lives does it take to wake a change?”

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