Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Esperanza Spalding - We Are America (a song about closing Guantanamo prison)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases the video "We Are America" by award winning vocalist and bass player Esperanza Spalding.

This post also includes excerpts from a NPR radio interview with Esparanza Spalding. A partial transription of the lyrics to this song is also included in this post.

The content of this post is provided for motivational, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

SHOWCASE VIDEO: We Are America - Esperanza Spalding

k-wad moovin, Published on Nov 19, 2013

Take a stand. Call the US Capitol Switchboard (1-202-224-3121) to connect you to your two US Senators and your Congressional Representative. Tell them:
I am your constituent and I want you to support closing Guantanamo.
Indefinite detention and unfair trials are illegal, un-American and unnecessary.
Visit these links to find out more about what's going on at Guantanamo Bay:
Amnesty International -
Human Rights First -
Human RIghts Watch -
I've not yet found a link to the lyrics to this song. Here's a partial transcription of that song:
I been told and I believe
Group- I been told and I believe
Ain't no justice, Ain't no peace.
Group- Ain't no justice, ain't no peace.

I been told and I believe
Group- I been told and I believe
What you give is what you receive.
Group- What you give is what you receive.
We gotta give it to them*

Hey hey hey
[someone sings what sounds to me like "Come on"]

Ah, we gotta let them out.

-end of partial transcription-
*The word "Dignity" is shown written on a man's body. Throughout the video the words "Justice", "Freedom", "Security", "Peace" etc are written somewhere on the bodies of people wearing prison orange uniforms. Those virtues are what Spalding means when she sings "We gotta give it to them.

From [National Public Radio]

"Grammy Award-winning musician Esperanza Spalding has a problem with using the phrase "protest song" to describe her new recording, "We Are America." The song, along with its accompanying music video, demands congressional action to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay.

HEADLEE: In the video, Spalding is joined by artists like Janelle Monae, Stevie Wonder and Harry Belafonte to demand Congressional action on closing the detention center at Guantanamo Bay. And she's here now to tell us more. Welcome.
talking about the process of writing this song]
SPALDING: ...“And I looked at the wall and, just next to the piano, some previous musician in there had written, no justice, no peace. And so I start humming the - like we were doing, like, a call-and-answer kind of chant. And, (Singing) I've been told and I believe - ain't no justice, ain't no peace. And that really became a seed that grew into the whole song. So really, I don't know how to answer your question specifically, but all I can sort of say is describing how we did it. And it was a very organic and genuine process...

HEADLEE: How will it help? I mean, I know President Obama came in and I believe he truly believed that he was going to be able to close Guantanamo without too much fuss. He found that to be very difficult - still to this day - to do. How is this video and greater public awareness going to actually do something that's so complicated in Washington?

SPALDING: Yeah. It's not as complicated as you might think. The narrative has gotten a little co-opted to become a who's soft and who's tough on security. And really, there are some very basic laws and human rights in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in our Constitution that are being violated. And there is a really concise and coherent roadmap that's been laid out by a lot of different governing bodies."

"In a surprising win on Tuesday night, the White House and top Senate Democrats successfully defended provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would loosen restrictions on transferring detainees out of Guantánamo Bay, advancing President Obama’s goal of closing the facility by a margin of 55-43. A vote in favor of final passage on the entire NDAA is expected in early December, after which it faces a likely fight in conference with the House’s version of the bill, which maintains the transfer restrictions."

The first featured video in that post is one of Celia Cruz singing "Guantanamera". From the Wikipedia page:
"Guantanamera" (Spanish: "from Guantánamo [feminine]", thus "woman from Guantánamo") is perhaps the best known Cuban song and that country's most noted patriotic song."...

Here's another blog about Esperanza Spalding's song "We Are America":

Thanks to Esperanza Spalding for composing & singing this song. Thanks also to the other artists, musicians, and other persons involved in this recording & video. Thanks also to the publisher of this video on YouTube.

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