A 12-year-old gospel singer’s heartbreaking song about being black in America has struck a chord in the United States and has become a viral rallying cry for many in the wake of George Floyd’s death this week while being restrained by Minneapolis police.
Keedron Bryant, who once competed on NBC’s fourth season of “Little Big Shots” posted the moving song to his Instagram account this week, writing simply, “Just singing what’s on my heart…hope this blesses someone.”
The song—which includes the powerful line “I just want to live”—was meant to be a tribute to Floyd, who died Monday in police custody, and other black Americans who have recently lost their lives.
"I’m a young black man / doing all that I can / to stand / Oh, but when I look around / and I see what’s being done to my kind / every day, I’m being hunted as prey / My people don’t want no trouble / We’ve had enough struggle / I just want to live / God, protect me / I just want to live / I just want to live,” Bryant sings.
Outrage over Floyd’s death began after video surfaced showing a Minneapolis police officer pinning Floyd to the ground with his knee on the man’s neck for more than eight minutes, as Floyd pleaded “please, please, please. I can’t breathe.”
His death has sparked protests across the country as many have called for the arrests of the officers involved in the incident.
All four officers involved have been fired from the police department in the wake of Floyd’s death.
Johnetta Bryant, the mother of the 12-year-old singer, told “Good Morning America” she wrote the lyrics to the song in response to recent events impacting the black community.
“It’s impossible to ignore what we as black people are up against, daily,” she said, according to ABC News.
Bryant’s song has struck a chord with many across the nation, receiving more than 1.6 million views since the song was first posted two days ago and earning the attention of celebrities including Janet Jackson, Nas, Lupita Nyong’o, Eva Longoria and basketball legend LeBron James, who all shared the song on their own Instagram accounts.
“I LOVE YOU KID! I LOVE US!,” James wrote.
Nas also recognized the aspiring singer for his work writing, “@keedronbryant is dope.”
Actress Eva Longoria pleaded for Bryant and others to stay safe during the turbulent times.
“Please God protect him,” she wrote. “And please, lead us out of these troubled waters.”
Those who knew Floyd, a father of two, have called him a gentle giant who was always quick to help others.
“This is nothing but an angel that was sent to us on Earth. And we demonized him and we killed him,” Floyd’s girlfriend Courteney Ross said, according to CBS News.
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