When alternative musician and rapper Jordan Benjamin, known as Grandson, heard of the tragedy that struck Parkland on Feb. 14, 2018, he knew there would be a great change made by the students of the community. Inspired by the students’ courage and determined to call out the faults of politicians, Grandson wrote “Thoughts and Prayers.”
Performing the song in collaboration with the West Los Angeles Children’s Choir, the song opens with their chant, “No thoughts, no prayers, can bring back what’s no longer there. The silent are damned. The body count is on your hands.”
Using the voices of the children to depict the voices of the students who have experienced gun violence, he creates a strong message towards politicians who deny the outcry of gun control and opt to offer their “thoughts and prayers” because of their underlying support of gun industries such as the NRA.
“Smile for the camera. Another politician bought. I swear I heard another shot,” Grandson said in his song.
He creates an accurate representation of the anger directed towards these politicians, as they continue to accept funds from the NRA while school shootings continue to happen. Because of their denial, the number of victims from these tragedies will continue to grow.
The impact of the song reaches its height when the children’s choir sing, “Turn off all the lights nobody make a sound. Ashes to ashes we all fall down. Are we out of time? Can we turn this all around? Are we out of time? Will we all fall.”
Grandson incorporates these chilling lines sung by the children to acknowledge the fears of students, emphasizing their cries of change through their emotions.
“I wanted a rallying cry — something I could say at the march, and I tripped and fell into a song,” Grandson said in an article made by billboard. “I juxtaposed the severity of the situation with an almost sing-song melody and incorporated the children.”
The single was released March 23 with almost a million views on Youtube and nearly 2 million streams on Spotify. Grandson and the choir also performed “Thoughts and Prayers” at the March For Our Lives event in Los Angeles.
Overall, the song is truly inspiring and succeeds in bringing forth a powerful message to take action. The poetic rapping and upbeat music easily captures the listener’s attention. It is amazing to hear Grandson being so passionate through his lyrics and accurately depict the emotions felt by those who have dealt with gun violence.
It is not meant to bring forth anger, but rather to face truths that are hidden behind the thoughts and prayers given by politicians who ignore the movement to put an end to tragedies like the one MSD experienced.