“The brilliant Toni Morrison once said, ‘This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self pity, no need for silence.’ As I’ve grieved and railed in isolation, through yet another violent, unjust, and heartbreaking loss of Black life, I’ve found solace in the work. Catharsis from the words. Power through the music. And I can only hope that as we collectively mourn and demand justice for the countless lives lost at the hands of this country, we can find a shred of comfort in the same. #georgefloyd #ahmaudarbery #breonnataylor” –Sa-Roc
If you want protest music for the uprising of the American consciousness, then look no further. Sa-Roc (born Assata Perkins) is an emcee from southeast Washington, D.C., and the second woman signed to Minneapolis-based hip-hop label Rhymesayers Entertainment, home to Atmosphere and Brother Ali among many others. In this Tiny Desk (home) concert, she debuted two exclusives, “Deliverance” and “r(E)volution,” both from her upcoming album, The Sharecropper’s Daughter, which is produced by her partner in life, Sol Messiah, and scheduled for release this fall.
Sa-Roc bears her heart and soul here, weaving together influential threads from her upbringing; Pan-Africanism, the hardship of her father’s experience as a sharecropper in Virginia and her own childhood in Congress Heights, D.C., an area ravaged by violence and the crack epidemic in the 1980s. On “r(E)volution” she spits bars: “Embedded in the home of the brave, the darkest of interiors. / Saw street scholars and soldiers defect cuz they post-traumatic stressed from the American experience.”
“Music I was exposed to, as well as their ideology, was all politically minded and African centered,” she expressed to me on the phone. “The culture of DC go-go, Gil Scott Heron, and The Last Poets shaped me.”
Sa-Roc is a modern day griot whose aura radiates calm in a world of chaos. This Tiny Desk (home) concert is as close as it gets to required viewing.
- Sa-Roc: vocals
- Sol Messiah: DJ