Brittany Campbell, 'Matter': 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 Aug. 17.
NPR logo Brittany Campbell Asks Old Questions On 'Matter'

Brittany Campbell Asks Old Questions On 'Matter'


Brittany Campbell asks questions she shouldn't have to in "Matter," a neo-soul ballad released on Aug. 20.

Over angelic harmonies and gentle guitar picking, the She's Gotta Have It star is direct with her question: Does a human life matter more than property? Campbell wrote the song after a difficult conversation with a friend in Los Angeles whose parents' store was destroyed during a Black Lives Matter protest.

In "Matter," Campbell moves beyond the politics of riots and looting to share her frustrations about the poisons Black people in America are fed. She poses her questions to everyone: silent friends, neighbors who avert their eyes and the carceral state that funds death warrants for Black people by way of militarized police departments with overstuffed budgets. ("Are we here? Do we matter? / I ask this on the daily / I ask this for my babies").

The accompanying music video for "Matter" is an animated memorial for Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Elijah McClain, Ahmaud Arbery and several other victims of senseless violence. Campbell raises her voice for those who had theirs forcibly taken away: "We want to breathe again."