New ‘Empire’ single names victims of gun violence and calls for change

Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson, Trai Byers and Katilin Doubleday in the Season 2 finale of ‘Empire.’
Image: Chuck Hodes/FOX

#SayHerName was the hashtag shaking up twitter starting in 2015, a movement to begin restitution for victims of gun violence by the simple gesture of talking about them. In a new song from Empire‘s upcoming Season 3 premiere, Jamal Lyon will be doing just that and singing to spotlight the many lives lost to fatal shootings.

“My heart cries out,” sings Jussee Smolett as the piano swells in the background, “for Orlando, Philando, Alton, Sandra, Mike Brown, Garner, Trayvon why? Too many people gone too soon.”

Tell me how this happened
Where did we go wrong?…
Gotta get this message out before I’m dead and gone.

The song feels right for Jamal, the most compassionate Lyon brother who took a bullet not meant for him this past season. But more than anything it feels right for Empire as a powerhouse drama that has always amplified the voices of artists of color and what matters most to them.

Smollett, whose character Jamal was shot at during Season 2 of ‘Empire.’

Image: fox

I recorded this exactly seven days after Philando Castile was shot, Smollett told Billboard, who premiered the song. Between the shootings of Castile, Alton Sterling, at the Pulse in Orlando and the police officers in Dallas not to mention the other numerous killings over the last couple of years it was like we couldnt breathe.

The track continues to build in scale until the end, when a classic Empire R&B hook calls for action to stop the bloodshed.

The world is crying
No more sirens for guns and violence

We think its important to shed more light on social issues and want Empire to be a part of that,” Columbia Records senior VP of A&R Shawn Holiday said in the same article.

That sounds like something the whole Lyon family can get behind.

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