Twenty-two year-old blues musician Christone “Kingfish” Ingram hails from Clarksdale, Mississippi, which has a rich history when it comes to the blues. His talent impressed Chicago blues legend Buddy Guy so much that Guy tracked down Ingram to give him a record deal.
Ingram also believes he has a responsibility to make sure some of his music reflects the state of the nation.
On his latest album, “662,” Ingram recorded a track written about young Black Americans killed as a result of hatred and policing.
“Where does hate come from? And how do we make it stop? We got to make some changes before somebody else gets shot. We need to pay attention to all the helpless cries. We got to stop the madness before another life goes by,” Ingram sings.
Ingram notes it has gone on for decades. “We keep treating people wrong. Why does doing something right, something right take so long.”
“In today’s world, you can see there are a lot of people who are misinformed about what the blues really are. They have a narrow way of thinking that all the blues are is someone singing: ‘My baby left me,’ and then a guitar solo,” Ingram told the San Diego Union-Tribune.
“But the blues was originally protest music. And the things happening now, with racism and police brutality, that’s our blues for me and other African American musicians. Because when we put our guitars down, we could be the next Michael Brown or George Floyd or Sandra Bland. So it’s almost mandatory to reflect that in our music and help raise awareness.”
While talking with Creek Media, a radio station in Macon, Georgia, Ingram was more explicit. “Some people can’t look past the guitar, but at the end of the day, I’m still a young black male in the South. Guitar or not, this could happen walking down the street! So I have to talk about that!”
The tune hits even harder when considering it written well before George Floyd and Breonna Taylor were murdered. It was a response to the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Sandra Bland, etc.
Blues music is uniquely situated to communicate the many raw emotions stirred up by the cycles of violence that wear on Black people in America. The genre will always be there to convey despair caused by injustice.
Watch or listen to “Another Life Goes By” by Christone “Kingfish” Ingram: