Amber Mark, 'My People': 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 18.
NPR logo The Revolution Starts With Community In Amber Mark's Cover Of 'My People'

The Revolution Starts With Community In Amber Mark's Cover Of 'My People'


Amber Mark urges her people to hold on to love in "My People," a neo-soul rendition of "My People ... Hold On" by the Temptations co-founder Eddie Kendricks. The singer-songwriter updates the source material, originally released in the '70s, reimagining Kendricks' R&B- stirring funk as a breathy, forward-thinking ballad.

The song parallels the momentum of a revolution. With each new movement, a different instrument joins Mark's raspy voice: drums, piano and cymbals all build to a powerful crescendo. With her layered harmonies, Mark considers the weight of the movement; the song is a reminder that, despite grief and violence, the power of the people united holds vast potential for positive change ("The time has come in this land / When the lion must lay down with the lamb / Brothers and sisters, lay side by side / Hold on to love, let its light be your guide.")

While advocating for love, Mark always keeps the starting point in mind — a community taking to the streets. "My People" ends with protesters chanting "What do we want? / Justice! / When do we want it? / Now!" over an approaching police siren.