July 6, 2020

White People, it’s time for a Roll Call.

Imagine a sold-out theatre. The stage is set and the show is live.

It’s the same old act that’s been running for centuries. Some of the dialogue is off-putting and most of the jokes are off-color. Several scenes are ridden with graphic brutality.

Racial undertones weave through the fabric of this tale. But it’s an American classic, celebrating the country’s independence, so why question it?

I never did. I watched my entire life. And I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to witnessing illicit behavior on that metaphorical stage while never doing anything to prevent it. Not because I enjoyed seeing it, but because I didn’t feel comfortable getting out of my seat.

Plus, the fireworks at the end created such a spectacle that all my concerns were forgotten. And therein lies the problem.

You see, this show will not change until those of us who are watching—those of us who are paying to see it—decide to stand up, disrupt the performance, and help to rewrite the narrative.

I wrote this song because I appreciate rap music and its roots in Black culture, and I would never try to appropriate that. I’m only trying to incite and inspire change through its medium because that’s what rap has done for me.

I hope this song reminds you of your obligation as a human. Because freedom doesn’t exist until we’re all free.

Huge thanks to my good friends Peter Dunn and Adelaide James for adding the rich and colorful voices of themselves, Jake McKenna, and Denise Tillman to the heartbeat of this track.

Roll Call

Heavenly Father
Let us all be forgiven
For what we’ve done
Placed a nation
In a manipulated state
And begun
To conquer the world
Through the illusion
Of fear and violence
While white Americans
Are sitting comfortable
In their silence
Through these
Lies and deceptions
How they’ve
Influenced perceptions
It’s only
Minimizing our minds
And turning us
Into the weapon
We gotta hold up our own
We can’t allow this control
To exercise its way
Inside of our homes
Because it’s high time
It’s high time to react
To the systemic inequity
That’s been holding us back
As one nation
Under god
With liberty and justice
For every single
One of its people
This is the/time/now
To stand up and fight
Against supremacy
And its association with white
Because the shooting
And looting’s happening
Gunning and running is rampant
And there’re no signs of stopping
Till the government’s answering
All the cries of the people
Who’re just trying to plead
Instead of screaming
I can’t breathe!”
But as long as they’re defending
This American lie
The march goes on
As we raise our fists to the sky
Protesting a system
That we are trying to reform
Shouting, “Black lives matter”
As we weather the storm
It’s a long road
But not getting on it is wrong
So acknowledge your privilege
And pass the message along


This is a roll call
Gather your privilege
And stand tall
For Black lives
Look at the writing
On these walls
It’s a mad time
The revolution will unfold
If we act right
We can abolish
This control

If you haven’t already understood
I’m talking to you
White America
This is an issue
Deep within our roots
This is something
That none of us
Ever had to endure
So how dare you
Try to act like democracy’s
Has a core
For an amalgam of people
Looking for ways to be equal
And discriminated on
Even when they tried
To be peaceful
This is 2020
It’s time to settle the score
By amending
The constitutional
Rights written for
Rich, powerful white men
Let’s fight them
By silencing their voices
And amplifying
The Blacks that enlighten
Let’s try to listen
To the narrative y’all
What your schooling
Didn’t seem to mention
At all
So much of the truth
Has been swept under the bed
For centuries
But now were demanding
The message is spread
So be loud
And vigilant
For equality right now
Cause freedom
Doesn’t exist
Until this system
Is brought down!

Repeat chorus.


Watch an anti-racism hour with Waylon Lewis and Jane Elliott.

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