The murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer in May 2020 has had a profound effect on society.
Exposing a deep-seeded racism that permeates all corners, responses have ranged from the global Black Lives Matter movement and accompanying street protests, to countless articles, stories and creative responses, all of which expose and explore the harsh realities of a devastating level of societal discrimination.
As a direct reaction to George’s brutal killing and the ongoing systematic racism occurring in the US and the UK, songwriter, musician and producer Mar!k answered with a rebuttal; an in memoriam musical piece titled George Floyd’s Song.
A powerful, slow-burning and atmospheric dissertation, Marik asserts, “If you look like me you’re oppressed,” before echoing George’s final cries, as a police office knelt on his neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds: “I can’t breathe, can’t breathe, can’t breathe, somebody help me!”
Released to mark the one-year anniversary of George’s death, Mar!k says: “I made this track as a response to the racism I see every day around me. He wasn’t the first unarmed black man to be killed by a police officer in broad daylight, but George Floyd’s death was a catalyst for change at a time when the world was finally able to watch and listen.
“Whether it’s on TV, online on social media or in the outside world, racism is a problem that needs to be addressed. In America as well as the UK.
“I’m not an activist or a freedom fighter. I’m just a 19-year-old teenager who doesn’t want to grow up in a world where the colour of my skin is a defining factor of someone’s initial perception.”
Showing a strong talent for music from an early age, Mar!k learnt his craft at church events, school performances and songwriting camps. Though he considered himself a lyricist, he also learnt guitar and bass. Later forming a rap collective, he studied music production, threw himself into freestyling and beat-making, and explored other genres, including reggae, gospel, soca.
Now a student at music college BIMM Birmingham, George’s death deeply troubled him, and George Floyd’s Song took him an entire week to write, lamenting on every word he wrote to best represent the generations of deaths caused by racial injustice.
Compelled to speak out, he delivered an equally powerful speech at his local Leicester #BlackLivesMatter rally, highlighting the disparities of racism in the UK. “If I turned off the sun there’d be no colour but this. All you’d see is black, all you’d be is blackness,” he protested to demonstrators.
The response to his speech was instant, as members of the audience were so inspired they requested he record it and make available – which he has done for the second half of this two-part release.
Twelve months on from George’s tragic demise in the US, Mar!k believes there’s still much work to be done.
“Derek Chauvin’s conviction was like one step up a 200 story building with no lift. It’s a start, but there’s a loooong way to go,”
* George by Mar!k is available on all major streaming platforms from Tuesday 25 May 2021. For more information, see: www.instagram.com/musicbymarik/
Released 25 May 2021
1. George Floyd’s Song
2. George Floyd’s Speech
Connect with Mar!k: https://linktr.ee/musicbymarik