Bruce Springsteen: America is haunted by slavery


Bruce Springsteen believes America is still "haunted" by "slavery".

The 'Born in the USA' hitmaker reflected on the demonstrations happening across the country in the wake of George Floyd's death at the hands of police last week and chose songs that echoed his feelings on racial injustice and political protest in his two-hour SiriusXM broadcast as part of his ongoing 'Bruce Springsteen -- From His Home to Yours' series.

He said: "We remain haunted, generation after generation, by our original sin of slavery.

"It remains the great unresolved issue of American society. The weight of its baggage gets heavier with each passing generation. As of this violent, chaotic week on the streets of America, there is no end in sight."

The 70-year-old rocker began the show with his own '41 Shots (American Skin)', which was written about the death of Amadou Diallo in a confrontation with New York police, and sombrely highlighted the circumstances around George's passing.

He said: "Eight minutes. That song is almost eight minutes long. That's how long it took George Floyd to die with a Minneapolis officer's knee buried into his neck. That's a long time. That's how long he begged for help and said he couldn't breathe.

"The arresting officer's response was nothing but silence and weight. Then he had no pulse. And still it went on...May he rest in peace."

And amid the coronavirus pandemic and an unemployment crisis, Bruce - whose show included three songs by Bob Dylan, a speech from Martin Luther King Jr. and music from artists including Gram Parsons, Billie Holiday, Childish Gambino, Bob Marley and Kanye West - hit out at the "tepid and unfeeling response" from President Donald Trump.

He said: "As we speak, 40 million people are unemployed. 100,000 plus citizens have died from COVID-19 with only the most tepid and unfeeling response from our White House.

"As of today, our black citizens continue to be killed unnecessarily by our police on the streets of America. As of this broadcast, the country is on fire and in chaos."

Bruce called for a "spiritual, moral and democratic awakening" to overhaul American society.

He said: "We have not cared for our house very well. There can be no standing peace without the justice owed to every American regardless of their race, colour or creed. The events of the last week have once again proved that idea.

"We need systemic changes in our law enforcement departments and the political will of our national citizenry to once again move forward the kind of changes that will bring the ideals of the civil rights movement once again to life and into this moment.

"We have a choice between chaos or community, a spiritual, moral and democratic awakening or becoming a nation fallen to history as critical issues were refused or not addressed.

"Is our American system flexible enough to make, without violence, the humane, fundamental changes necessary for a just society?"

"The American story, our story, is in our hands and may God bless us all.

"Stay safe. Stay well. Stay strong. Until we meet again, stay involved. And go in peace."