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Jay Z and Beyonce pay tribute to black men shot dead by US police

Published 08/07/2016

Jay Z hit out at
Jay Z hit out at "police brutality" in the US

Jay Z has released a new song in response to the police shootings of two black men in the US this week, while wife Beyonce led concert-goers in a minute's silence.

The rapper said he wrote Spiritual a while ago, but never finished it. He released the track on his streaming service Tidal on Friday along with a statement attacking police brutality following the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling.

A day earlier, Beyonce paused her concert in Glasgow to remember the two men, illuminating a giant screen with their names and those of dozens of other victims of recent police shootings in America.

Explaining his decision to release the song, Jay Z wrote: "Punch (Terrence Henderson, co-president of record label TDE) told me I should drop it when Mike Brown died; sadly I told him 'This issue will always be relevant'."

Black teenager Michael Brown was shot dead by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, in August 2014, sparking mass protests and rioting.

Jay Z added: "I'm hurt that I knew his death wouldn't be the last...

"I'm saddened and disappointed in THIS America - we should be further along. WE ARE NOT.

"I trust God and know everything that happens is for our greatest good, but, man ... it's tough right now."

He ended by sending his blessings to families who had lost loved ones to "police brutality" and included a quotation by African-American social reformer Frederick Douglass.

Mr Sterling was shot in Louisiana on Tuesday after being pinned to the pavement by two white officers. A Minnesota officer shot Mr Castile dead while he was in a car with a woman and a child, just a day later.

A demonstration against their deaths has ended in further tragedy as snipers opened fire on police officers in the heart of Dallas, killing five officers and injuring six others on Thursday evening.

Lyrics of the song include: "I am not poison, no, I am not poison. Just a boy from the hood that g ot my hands in the air. In despair, don't shoot, I just wanna do good."

He references his own daughter Blue Ivy, writing: "Can't even raise my little daughter, my little Carter. We call her Blue cause it's sad that, h ow can I be a dad that, I never had that."

Beyonce paid tribute with an a cappella performance of Freedom, a recent release with themes associated with the Black Lives Matter movement, during her show at Hampden Park Stadium.

Fans described being moved to tears by the tribute which hushed the huge crowds at the 50,000-seat arena.

In a message posted on her website, Beyonce called on her followers to "take a stand and demand that they 'Stop killing us'".

She said: "We don't need sympathy. We need everyone to respect our lives ... Fear is not an excuse. Hate will not win."

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From Belfast Telegraph