There is a horrible stain on the honour of the United States, with regard to violence against people of colour. We’ve seen this so much in recent weeks, with peaceful protests to bring about human rights changes, and to commemorate the names of those who have died at the hands of police – among many others, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Sandra Bland, Ahmaud Arbery – and to bring those murderers to justice.
Musical artists have often addressed in songs the epidemic of police shootings, sometimes using metaphor, but other times expressing it with extreme candour. Sanya N’Kanta however, lays it on the line in the most plain-spoken, pained, and poetic fashion possible, in his new single, ‘Silence Is Violence’, coming from his latest album, ‘The Counterfeit Revival’.
Using only a few verses, Sanya lays it all out there: he puts in front of us the entire emotional case against state oppression. The shattered lives, the broken families, the discrimination, and the misunderstandings that have been rending the very fabric of society. N’Kanta shares it all in a voice that is both comforting, and authoritative – his voice is heavy with pain, and yet, through that, he is firm with conviction.
‘Silence Is Violence’ is not a statement of defeat, but rather, a plea on behalf of interpersonal compassion. It denounces cruelty on every side. The song is the focal point of ‘The Counterfeit Revival’, and establishes the singer, songwriter, and guitarist as a force for both moral and musical clarity. The Jamaican-born artist blends soul, contemporary pop, electronic music, hip-hop, and blues, making a sound of his very own. In contrast to his previous single, ‘Can’t Stop Thinking Bout You’, ‘Silence Is Violence’ is not a dance track, but it still maintains the intensity N’Kanta has become known for.
The music video for ‘Silence Is Violence’ pulls no punches, and stays close to the narrative of the song. We are taken to a playground, where two African American young people are playing with a toy gun, not realising the terrible danger they are putting themselves in. An onlooker calls the police, who come to control the apparent situation. The older sister of one of the children does what she can to keep them out of trouble but her actions see her escorted to the back of the police car. The story is one that has been repeated all over the US, over and over again; when will it ever end? Let’s hope that the current groundswell of hope actually elicits the changes that need to occur.
Find Sanya N’Kanta online on his official website. Watch the video for ‘Silence Is Violence’ below.