What if Otis Redding had been lynched like Emmett Till?
Does it not make your soul go cold, Robert Johnson being pulled over before the crossroads?
What if Muddy Waters was shot?
By another poorly trained hot-head cop.
“Muddy was just jogging ‘round the hood,” his neighbors had seen him a million times before.
Does it not make you stop and wonder: what good is this system for?
It’s a wound that will constantly grow if we just shrug our shoulders and go with the flow.
What if the next Kendrick’s only rhyme would be “I can’t breathe, please, help me.”
What if Stevie had never been allowed to wonder?
What if “beat it!” had led to Michael’s murder.
What if “hit the road Jack” was the last thing Ray had said?
What if B.B. never played the blues because he bled red instead?
Would we only know Dizzy as the state before we fade away?
A blue knee filling an 8:46 silence where a jazz solo should’ve been played.
What if James Brown had wailed and died?
Would it not make you cry?
What if Hendrix had been murdered before his fame?
Does it not justify the flames?
Would Billie still sing about the strange fruit strewn on our streets?
While our “leaders” cast curfews down from their tweets.
If Louis could see us now, could he bring himself to sing “What a wonderful world?”
I hope one day he would.
Because I believe their music can change the world.