December 1, 2021

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Saleka adds her voice to the racial justice movement with “How Many”


Saleka | Saleka | photo by Shervin Lainez | courtesy of the artist

This morning, Saleka released a new single with a powerful message. The R&B singer songwriter wrote “How Many” after the death of George Floyd in the summer of 2020. “This song was written in response to the systemic oppression and racism happening in our country,” says Saleka. 

When writing about her feelings surrounding the event, Saleka says “what came out was an expression of my disbelief at the system, at the absence of justice and accountability, and the lack of value and care for human life.” It’s a modern protest song that expresses Saleka’s beliefs and the values of the Black Lives Matter movement. In the chorus, Saleka sings a call to action, “how many lives, how many times? / before this movement starts to move / before it’s recognized as truth.”

The music video for “How Many” was animated by Rafael ”Rafatoon” Perez, a mixed media filmmaker whose work includes music videos for Santana and Deftones. In the three-and-a-half minute video, the lyrics for “How Many” flash on screen next to protest imagery in an animated cartoon dystopia. The limited color palette of the video emphasizes the grave subject matter of the song, but Saleka’s pop groove elevates it from flat-out depressing to thoughtful with a hint of optimism.

Saleka plays three dates as part of a residency at World Cafe Live starting October 13th. Fans are likely to hear live the singles Saleka wrote for her father M. Night Shyamalan’s movie Old and his Apple TV series, Servent. For ticket information and more show dates, visit the XPN Concert Calendar. 

Tags: Saleka





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