Miguel has shared the demo of a new track titled “How Many” in the aftermath of the police shootings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and Philando Castile outside the Twin Cities, Minnesota. Like Beyoncé, Jay Z, Drake and many others, Miguel wonders on his new track “how many” people must die before law enforcement institutes change.
“This version was started (written/recorded) here in London in my hotel room between the hours of 4am and around 7am when I passed out,” Miguel wrote on SoundCloud. “I’ll update this song every week until it’s complete. Please feel free to share. #blacklivesmatter.” On Instagram, Miguel added that he’ll continue to work on the song as it “evolves weekly.”
On the demo, Miguel isn’t subtle about the song’s stark subject matter. “I’m tired of human lives turned into hashtags and prayer hands / I’m tired of watching murderers get off,” Miguel sings. “Brothers and sisters, it’s time to wake up / Brothers and sisters, it’s time to say something, do something / How many black lives, how many black lives? / How many heartbeats turned into flatlines.” Miguel adds on the chorus, “We can’t let them die in vain.”
In the immediate aftermath of the latest police shootings, Miguel posted video of himself singing Marvin Gaye’s 1971 classic protest song “What’s Going On,” a track similarly inspired by police brutality.