Bruce Springsteen Addresses George Floyd’s Death, Racism & Social Injustice
Bruce Springsteen returned to the SiriusXM airwaves on Wednesday to host the fifth installment of Bruce Springsteen — From His Home To Yours on the E Street Radio channel. Springsteen opened the two-hour show by playing a recording of his own “41 Shots (American Skin),” which he dedicated to the memory of George Floyd and those protesting Floyd’s death.
“Eight minutes. That song is almost eight minutes long and that’s how long it took George Floyd to die with a Minneapolis police officer’s knee buried into his neck,” Springsteen said after spinning “41 Shots (American Skin),” an original he wrote in response to the police killing of Amadou Diallo in 1999. “That’s a long time and that’s how long he begged for help and said he couldn’t breathe. The arresting officer’s response was nothing but silence and wait. Then he had no pulse. And still it went on. That goes out to Seattle, to New York, to Miami, to Atlanta, to Chicago, to Dallas, to Philadelphia, to Washington, to Los Angeles, to Asbury Park, to Minneapolis and to the memory of George Floyd, may he rest in peace.”
“As we speak, 40 million people are unemployed, 100K+ citizens have died from COVID-19 with only the most tepid and most unfeeling response from our White House,” Springsteen continued. “As of today, our black citizens continue to be killed unneccessarily by our police on the streets of America and as of this broadcast the country was on fire and in chaos.” Bruce’s playlist for yesterday’s From His Home To Yours as per Deadline included such songs as Bob Marley & The Wailers’ “Burnin’ & Lootin’,” Childish Gambino’s “This Is America,” Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit,” Kanye West’s “Who Will Survive In America?,” three Bob Dylan songs (“Political World,” “Blind Willie McTell” and “Murder Most Foul”) as well as the United States Army Field Band Soldiers Chorus’ “America (My Country, ‘Tis Of Thee)” and “In My Hour Of Darkness” by Gram Parsons.
Bruce used a number of opportunities in between songs to discuss racism. “We remain haunted, generation after generation, by our original sin of slavery,” Springsteen said. “It remains the great unresolved issue of American society. The weight of its baggage gets heavier with each passing generation. As of this violent, chaotic week on the streets of America, there is no end in sight.” He also played a Martin Luther King Jr. speech.
Read more of Springsteen’s comments from the show via Deadline below:
We have not cared for our house very well. There can be no standing peace without the justice owed to every American regardless of their race, color or creed. The events of the last week have once again proved that idea. We need systemic changes in our law enforcement departments and the political will of our national citizenry to once again move forward the kind of changes that will bring the ideals of the civil rights movement once again to life and into this moment.
We have a choice between chaos or community, a spiritual, moral and democratic awakening or becoming a nation fallen to history as critical issues were refused or not addressed. Is our American system flexible enough to make, without violence, the humane, fundamental changes necessary for a just society?
The American story, our story, is in our hands and may God bless us all. Stay safe. Stay well. Stay strong. Until we meet again, stay involved. And go in peace.
Listen to Bruce Springsteen’ remarks following “41 Shots (American Skin)” below: