Saul Williams Pens Passionate Op-Ed On The "Young Martyrs" Of Baltimore

Lenny Kravitz, Grace Jones, Lauryn Hill, Lion Babe, Thundercat, SZA & More Rock The Afropunk Festival 2015 in Brooklyn, NY.

For well over a decade, Saul Williams has set been putting his shoulder to the wheel of global social justice. Be it on stage, in print, or in a recording studio, the activist has made it his life's work to antagonize the status quo and bring his artistic powers to bear on the side of the oppressed.

In the wake Freddie Gray's death while in Baltimore Police custody and the subsequently violent riots that coursed through the city last week, Williams has penned a new op-ed for Spin Magazine--one in which he divulges a diary entry grappling with fear, destruction and the "growing list a of young martyrs who had not made altruistic choices to serve humanity." It's a harrowing read delivered by a writer who's in every way essential in our current moment. Read an excerpt of the entry below:

May 4, 2015

Weird dream. In a burning library, on the third or fourth floor, not actually panicked about the fire below. I’m copying passages from books before throwing them out the window. Outside a huge pendulum hangs over the city, like the moon on a string. I read one passage that begins, “Baltimore had long ago burnt to the ground,” which disintegrates in my hands before I have a chance to read more. I pick up another book and read something like:

Millions of hands pushed the hanging weight as it swung overhead, heavy, metallic. The pendulum push for social justice that had moved through labor, civil rights, women’s independence, black power, only to be foiled by covert government infiltration, corporate hedgemony [sic], the War on Drugs, mass incarceration, up through and past a black presidency, was now making it’s [sic] reverse journey, where groups that had once been strategically pitted against each other [see Bastards of the Party] were now finding common cause and ground in policing their own communities, where overt oversights and religious overflow into the law were being weeded out, drugs were being decriminalized, wage discrepancies were being addressed… in so many words, the country was reckoning with its shortcomings, oversights, and deeply ingrained prejudices and hypocrisies.

A young man, who I think is Aaron Swartz walks up and hands me a book. He’s wearing a red hoodie that says “fucking awesome.” He asks if I can read the text as he recites it to see if he has it properly memorized. He says something like,

“From the chapter on martyrs & whistleblowers:

How to connect the dots ?...

>>Read Saul Williams's full op-ed at Spin.

Williams is primed to play Brooklyn Bowl in New York City tonight on his current Martyr, Loser, Kingdom tour, presented in part by Okayplayer. $15 Tickets are still available and can be purchased here.