George Perkins’ “Cryin In The Streets” is one of the more unheralded protest anthems, a 1970 track bore from the swell of emotion Perkins observed at Martin Luther King Jr’s funeral. Every word is still painfully relevant, as people of color fight the same struggle and were seeing figurative funerals held for civil liberties with every swipe of Donald Trump’s pen.
Muslim-American singer Zeshan B realized this, and premiered his cover of the track just two days after a de facto Muslim Ban was announced. His harrowing rendition vies to be as hair-raising and emotive as Perkins’, no doubt because of the troubling proximity Zeshan feels to those under attack by the current administration. The dozens of Black and Brown faces highlighted during the video humanize the hateful crusade. As Zeshan passionately bellows, you wonder why these people can’t just be let be to live their lives and seek the liberties that the countries’ top crust enjoy. Their burgeoning resistance is a silver lining, juxtaposing video of police brutality with marchers demanding an end to the mistreatment.
Zeshan B properly breathed new life into a soul classic, re-purposing it for a fight against a new face delivering the same terror that Perkins—and MLK—saw firsthand.