Photo courtesy of Ron Gerald
(July 11, 2020) If the year 2020 is a movement and a moment, R&B artists are rising to the occasion by speaking their truth. We may have to go back to the 1960s and early 70s to find a time when R&B artists collectively used their voices to speak truth to power. The criticism that R&B music wasn’t relevant to the time never really meshed with what was happening on the indie scene, but with mainstream voices joining the socially relevant chorus, the belief that R&B can and should have something to say about what is happening in the world is an idea whose time has come.
R&B crooner Ron Gerald had music waiting for such a time. Gerald youthful tenor is definitely suited to sing ballads such as “Here’s To Us,” a tune that we featured in a First Listen a couple of weeks ago. However, Gerald saw what was happening in the world around him, particularly as it related to unarmed men of color being killed in encounters with law enforcement. So, in 2016, Gerald penned “Don’t Shoot,” a plaintive plea for law enforcers and policy makers to recognize his humanity so that he can make it home.
Events conspired that compelled Gerald to release “Don’t Shoot” in 2020, and this ballad of a different type joins a growing list of songs that call attention to this American tragedy. Let’s hope that America can change its tune so that artists such as Gerald can change theirs. Until then, we need as many voices like his speaking truth to power. Check out “Don’t Shoot” here.
By Howard Dukes
Ron Gerald - "Don't Shoot"