– by David Churack
The protests in Ferguson have received extensive media coverage over the last few weeks, and rightly so. Images of protesters holding their hands up in reference to the surrender of 18-year-old Michael Brown before his fatal shooting, surrounded by police clad in body armour and with the support of armoured vehicles, are striking reminders that the racial tensions, many thought were buried in the past, are still present and ready to erupt in American society. A tragic event like this thoughtless shooting is all that is needed to bring them to the surface.
One of the many individuals to speak out on these events is the popular British singer and artist Devonté ‘Dev’ Hynes, popularly known by his stage name Blood Orange. On a recent video interview with Okayplayer, a jovial (yet clearly emotional) Hynes used the fame his musical career has given him to give voice to his thoughts on the Ferguson protests, stating that, “the photos don’t even seem real… You don’t want it to be real and it is, and I don’t know what’s happening or what’s going to happen but for me it feels like it’s…like I’m getting poked all my life, it feels like that. Maybe sometimes there’s a punch, but most times it feels like this irritating jab that keeps getting pushed and I think everyone is just kinda tired of it.”
Hynes himself is no stranger to violence and abuses of power, suffering a widely published assault by security guards at music festival Lollapalooza in the beginning of August. The assault left him with a torn patella in his leg, and ironically came just hours after the musician gave a speech on racism and police brutality
Hynes made further comments at a ‘SummerStage’ concert in Central Park, where he performed on crutches due to his injuries from the previous assault. He passionately spoke out against the actions of the police and the treatment of the Ferguson riots in American media, declaring to a crowd full of people: ‘I hate this fucking police state we are all starting to live in. And I don’t mean New York and I don’t mean America I mean the fucking world right now… I hate how the press was trying to cover up Ferguson, I hate all of this fucking bullshit.”
Clearly deeply invested in the outcome of the Ferguson riots, Hynes holds no illusions about the difficulties inherent in the protest effort, evidenced by his comments at the close of his interview, “There’s no solution to this, and that’s what I think is, for me, the most upsetting thing. Because you can riot, you can speak on-stage or tweet or sign petitions…but a petition doesn’t change some random dick cop’s opinion. So it’s just a really desolate, horrible zone of hope you’re just left with and you just have to soldier on in your own way and make the best of yourself and look after others. Change can probably happen but that’s a long, long, long process of just planting seeds and hoping it grows down the line.”
Dev Hynes joins a list of celebrities including Nelly, David Banner and Keke Palmer to voice their opinions and concerns about the Ferguson riots.
See his interview on Okayplayer here: