India Arie has always used her powerful voice to spread messages of hope, love, truth and encouragement through her music and now she’s taking a stand yet again with an emotional new song in response to the rise in police killings of African-Americans.

Surrounded by family and friends, India opens the song with moving lyrics inspired by Eric Garner’s heartbreaking last words, “I can’t breathe,” uttered just before NYPD officers put him a fatal choke hold during a senseless arrest that ultimately ended his life in July of 2014.

“Sometimes you just can’t believe the things your eyes see, so much injustice in this life and it’s happening right on your TV screen,” she sings. “So you drop to your knees and you’re praying ‘cause you can hear him saying he can’t breathe, and it’s all so overwhelming, because you know there’s nothing you can do to help him.” India is then joined by the group around her, who chimes in for the song’s chorus singing, “continue to breathe.”  

Speaking on the song, India tells ESSENCE that she hopes to remind the Black community of their worth and usher in a spirit of healing. “My mission all of these years has been to spread love Healing Peace and Joy through the power of words and music,” she says. “I am working on a new album called WORTHY – but with the  climate of our country, I couldn’t wait for an album release to share this song called “BREATHE,.” Just like the rest of the country, I am hurting and wondering how we can heal – and so I’m offering what I have. May this song “BREATHE” remind the black community that I love so dearly – that we are WORTHY, Our healing is in our hands, and never ever forget about your HEART. Love is the most powerful energy in the universe and all we have to do it use it. and In honor of our brothers, lets continue to BREATHE.”

The song’s message and India’s soothing tone paired with the heartwarming visual brings the current emotional state of the Black community and those standing with us in the fight for justice to life in the most remarkable way possible.  

Watch the exclusive premiere of India Arie’s “Breathe” and let us know what you think.

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