Crys Matthews, 'How Many More': Protest Music In 2020 : We Insist: A Timeline Of Protest Music In 2020 This song, part of our 'We Insist' timeline of 2020's noteworthy protest music, was released June 1.

Crys Matthews's 'How Many More' Is A Public Vigil For The Dead


Crys Matthews has created a folk anthem for the #BlackLivesMatter movement. "How Many More" combines the energy of Dylan's "Blowing In The Wind" with a public vigil for the dead. Even well-meaning members of the public, when addressing violence against Black people, have often framed the victims a statistic or part of a sociopolitical argument rather than as individuals with specific names and histories. As an answer, Black activists fighting violence against Black women challenged the public with the hashtag #SayHerName. Crys Matthews has done exactly that in her new song. Her verses are recitations of the names of the fallen. She's not the first to use this strategy; Janelle Monáe embarked on a similar mission with her fellow Wondaland artists nearly five years ago. Matthews, however, strikes a vastly different tone. Monáe and her collaborators hurl the names of Black victims of police brutality at the listener like bombs. Matthews, by contrast, delivers the names gently and lets the sheer number of them do the emotional heavy lifting. She projects exhaustion and grief rather than rage. Her challenge to the listener, however, is uncompromising: "How many 'I can't breathe's before you care?" Equal parts lament and call to action, "How Many More" skillfully articulates the emotional toll the fight for equality has taken on Black people.