Neil Young has released a live version of his song ‘Southern Man’ in response to the current protests following the death of George Floyd.
George Floyd, an African-American man from Minnesota, was murdered by white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin when knelt on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds during an arrest. Floyd, who was handcuffed and lying face down on the road, was unresponsive for 2 minutes and 53 seconds while the officer held his knee down on his neck.
Three other arresting officers, Thomas K. Lane, Tou Thao, and J. Alexander Kueng, also held Floyd down for this period. The incident, caught both on local CCTV and by video recordings secured bystanders, showed Floyd repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe” while the officer held his knee on the back of his neck.
The death has sparked mass protests across the United States with all four officers involved being fired the next day. Chauvin, the white officer who held down his knee, has since been arrested and charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter.
Now, as thousands of people line the streets to protest for change, to shout the message of institutional racism and to shout the issue of police brutality from the rooftops, Neil Young has stepped back to 2019 to revisit a performance of ‘Southern Man’.
“Here’s me as an old guy singin’ his 50-year-old song that was written after countless years of racism in the USA,” Young said in a caption of the video. “And look at us today! This has been going on for way too long.”
Young has also called for a change in the rules in the policing issues. “It’s not just ‘Southern Man’ now,” he said. “It’s everywhere across the USA. It’s time for real change, new laws, new rules for policing.”