Elijah Blake Makes an Epic Plea for Racial Justice in ‘Hanging Tree’ Music Video

ELijah Blake Hanging Tree
The cover of Elijah Blake’s new single “Hanging Tree” features an image of George Stinney, a wrongly accused 14 year old African American young man who became the youngest person to ever be sentenced to death in the U.S., only to be exonerated 70 years after the state of South Carolina murdered him.

R&B singer Elijah Blake’s music video for his latest single ‘Hanging Tree’ serves as an epic narrative of the ongoing plight of Black Americans facing present and historical oppression in the United States of America. The song, which is from Sankofa.org’s EP17 project (available to stream on Jay-Z’s Tidal and Harry Belafonte’s Sankofa.org), is somewhat of a modern day “Strange Fruit”. “Strange Fruit” is of course the classic 1939 tune by Billie Holiday about the terrible lynching of Black bodies across the American South in the 20th century. Elijah Blake takes that song’s theme and gives it a modern twist. While he references historical lynching, he draws a direct link from this to modern day police brutality against Black bodies in the present. “Everybody’s praying for peace,” croons Blake, “but who’s gonna protect us from the police?”

EP17 is a visual EP and short film loosely based on the vigilante killing of 17 year old Trayvon Martin in 2012 by self-designated police officer George Zimmerman. It can be viewed in its entirety below:


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