‘American Idol’ Season 20 Premiere Features Black Lives Matter Ballad
American Idol kicked off the debut of its 20th season with a Black Lives Matter balled as star judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan listened to the George Floyd-inspired number.
The long-running ABC series (rebooted after Fox canceled it at season 16) featured another slate of singers hopeful that they can become the next Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood. But a notable departure from the usual cover songs came when Taylor Fagins sang his own paean to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Fagins, a UC Irvine drama graduate, singer, songwriter, and playwright, told the show he wrote “We Need More” shortly after George Floyd’s death in police custody in 2020.
The star-studded panel of judges sat in rapt silence as Fagins sang his tribute to “victims of police violence,” including Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and accusations about “police burglars.”
Country star and American Idol judge Luke Bryan called Fagins’ performance “a really magical kind of moment.”
Lionel Richie called the song “very powerful” and “very heavy.” Richie added, “What I am emotional about is that we need your song in 2022. How disgusting.”
Some of the lyrics of Fagin’s original tune include claims that black children can’t play outside for fear of police, and blasts white people because black girls fear being around them.
For Arbery, Fagins wrote, “You went for a run ‘cause you probably felt free.” And added, “Little black boys don’t run outside or play with water guns at night,” and “They run away from red and white, blue lights.”
Another line in the anti-white song reads, “Little black girls don’t close their eyes or walk the streets alone at night,” and “They turn their cameras on when they see white.”
The song winds up with, “Little black boys and girls are scared, their parents feel so unprepared,” and “The world sees black no matter what you wear.”
Fagins was given the nod to continue on into the season as a contestant, but was not awarded “platinum ticket” status.
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