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Being A Black Man In America

by Damien-Graves

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Recorded August 2019.
©2020 Damien-Graves


Being a black man in America
The expectation that I'm something
Someone wants me to be
Assumptions, fears, stereotypes
Of what people choose to see

Trying to feel this black boy joy
In a world that wants to diminish it
Trying to be myself
In a world that views me as just a demographic

The color in my skin makes me feel like
A target is on my back
To be berated with ill will and discriminated
Until I crack

As I'm searching to find myself
In a society that tries to control who I am
My momma preaches to me
Not to become another statistic

Systematic abuse, mass incarceration
That can feel so daunting
Laquan McDonald, Trayvon Martin
These names are haunting

Antoine Rose, Jr., Tamir Rice,
Jordan Edwards, Michael Brown
Black boys robbed of ever reaching adulthood
Proclaimed legally justified, as the police stood

Being a black man in America is living in fear

We compose and perform this music
To shout our individuality
Delivering messages that are here to stay
Because self-expression is something
No one can take away


released June 5, 2020
“Being A Black Man In America”

words by Jamal Damien Kemp
music by Micah Graves

Jamal Damien - trumpet
Micah Graves - electric piano
Nathan Pence - bass guitar
Maya Stepansky - drums
Vince Anthony - vocals

Cover art by Olivia Musselman

Produced by Jay Levin
Mixed by Doug Raus
Recorded by Jeff Hiatt and Doug Raus
Mastered by Sean Svadlenak
Recorded and mixed at Turtle Studios


all rights reserved



Turtle Studios Philadelphia

Music production workshop in a big old recording studio in South Philly. No project too nerdy or too hip!


Home of producers Ross Bellenoit, Jay Levin and Doug Raus, mastering engineer Sean Svadlenak and senior everything Jeff Hiatt.
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