BLACK VOICES

This Protest Song Captures The Power Of #BlackLivesMatter Demonstrations

Who says the protest song is dead?

Certainly not Sidewalk Chalk, an eight-piece, Chicago-based band who meld together hip-hop, soul and jazz and are set to release their third album, titled “Shoulder Season,” next month.

For the band’s second music video off their upcoming album, Sidewalk Chalk matched up their emotionally-charged new song “Them, Us” with footage from a December protest where artists, including members of the band, took over the city’s Red Line train with a rush-hour demonstration drawing attention to America's racial divide in light of recent incidents of police violence. The video was shot and directed by fellow Chicagoan David Burkart and was released Monday.

Charlie Coffeen, the band’s leader and keyboardist who also helped organize the “Train Takeover” protest, told HuffPost via e-mail that half the band’s members experience racial profiling on a daily basis, which prompted them to speak out. Coffeen himself was arrested while protesting in Ferguson, Missouri, in August.

As the band's MC, Rico Sisney, explained, the inspiration for the song “came from a need for connection and empathy in our world, a need that is as strong now as it was in the ‘60s.”

“It is painful to focus on the casualties of inequality in this country and abroad, but that focus presents an opportunity if it is viewed in the correct light,” Sisney said. “Once we stop talking about systemic issues and the victims of hatred, we allow some the freedom to ignore that which makes them uncomfortable, and deny others the opportunity to crack this thing open, take it apart, and build something better.”

HuffPost

BEFORE YOU GO

  • Jordan Johnson, left, 8, from Washington, Camille Chrysostom of Bowie, Md., and Jaimee Swift of Philadelphia, observe a momen
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Jordan Johnson, left, 8, from Washington, Camille Chrysostom of Bowie, Md., and Jaimee Swift of Philadelphia, observe a moment of silence at Meridian Hill Park, also known as Malcom X Park, Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014 in Washington, to protest the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by police in Ferguson, Mo. Vigils were held across the country for people organizers say died at the hands of police brutality. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
  • People in a crowd hold signs and listen to speakers at a demonstration on Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, in Decatur, Georgia, in th
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    People in a crowd hold signs and listen to speakers at a demonstration on Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, in Decatur, Georgia, in the town square. The demonstration of more than 200 people was held in response to the shooting death of Michael Brown and following unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. (AP Photo/ Ron Harris)
  • An unidentified man holds a banner on Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, in Decatur, Georgia, in the town square. The demonstration of
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    An unidentified man holds a banner on Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, in Decatur, Georgia, in the town square. The demonstration of more than 200 people was held in response to the shooting death of Michael Brown and following unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. (AP Photo/ Ron Harris)
  • An unidentified man wearing a crown listens as a speaker addresses the crowd on Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, in Decatur, Georgia.
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    An unidentified man wearing a crown listens as a speaker addresses the crowd on Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, in Decatur, Georgia. The demonstration of more than 200 people was held in response to the shooting death of Michael Brown and following unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. (AP Photo/ Ron Harris)
  • Protesters march through Leimert Park to protest the shooting of an unarmed man in Ferguson, Mo., and other victims of police
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Protesters march through Leimert Park to protest the shooting of an unarmed man in Ferguson, Mo., and other victims of police shootings, Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
  • Protesters walk in the middle of Crenshaw Blvd. to protest the shooting of an unarmed man in Ferguson, Missouri and other vic
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Protesters walk in the middle of Crenshaw Blvd. to protest the shooting of an unarmed man in Ferguson, Missouri and other victims of police shootings, Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
  • Demonstrators peacefully gather Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, at the site where Michael Brown was shot and killed by police in Fer
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Demonstrators peacefully gather Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, at the site where Michael Brown was shot and killed by police in Ferguson, Mo. The Missouri Highway Patrol seized control of a St. Louis suburb Thursday, stripping local police of their law-enforcement authority after four days of clashes between officers in riot gear and furious crowds protesting the death of an unarmed black teen shot by an officer. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
  • A demonstrator holds up a sign Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, at the site where Michael Brown was shot and killed by police in Ferg
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A demonstrator holds up a sign Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, at the site where Michael Brown was shot and killed by police in Ferguson, Mo. The Missouri Highway Patrol seized control of a St. Louis suburb Thursday, stripping local police of their law-enforcement authority after four days of clashes between officers in riot gear and furious crowds protesting the death of an unarmed black teen shot by an officer. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
  • Rev. Traci Blackmon uses a megaphone to talk to a large group of demonstrators Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, at the site where Mic
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Rev. Traci Blackmon uses a megaphone to talk to a large group of demonstrators Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, at the site where Michael Brown was shot and killed by police in Ferguson, Mo. The Missouri Highway Patrol seized control of a St. Louis suburb Thursday, stripping local police of their law-enforcement authority after four days of clashes between officers in riot gear and furious crowds protesting the death of an unarmed black teen shot by an officer. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
  • Thousands of demonstrators peacefully march down a street with members of the St. Louis County Police and Missouri Highway Pa
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Thousands of demonstrators peacefully march down a street with members of the St. Louis County Police and Missouri Highway Patrol Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. The Missouri Highway Patrol seized control of a St. Louis suburb Thursday, stripping local police of their law-enforcement authority after four days of clashes between officers in riot gear and furious crowds protesting the death of an unarmed black teen shot by an officer. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
  • Demonstraters peacefully march down a street Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. The Missouri Highway Patrol seized con
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Demonstraters peacefully march down a street Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. The Missouri Highway Patrol seized control of a St. Louis suburb Thursday, stripping local police of their law-enforcement authority after four days of clashes between officers in riot gear and furious crowds protesting the death of an unarmed black teen shot by an officer. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
  • Protesters march in New York City’s Union Square, Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014. Vigils are being held across the country for peo
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Protesters march in New York City’s Union Square, Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014. Vigils are being held across the country for people organizers say died at the hands of police brutality. The events come in the wake of the shooting death of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, and the death of a New York City man caused by a police officer's apparent chokehold. (AP Photo/Michael R. Sisak)
  • About 1000 people march peacefully in New York City’s Union Square, Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014. Vigils are being held across t
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    About 1000 people march peacefully in New York City’s Union Square, Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014. Vigils are being held across the country for people organizers say died at the hands of police brutality. The events come in the wake of the shooting death of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, and the death of a New York City man caused by a police officer's apparent chokehold. (AP Photo/Michael R. Sisak)
  • Demonstrators hold candles and signs Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. Hundreds of people protesting the death of  Mi
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Demonstrators hold candles and signs Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. Hundreds of people protesting the death of Michael Brown marched through the streets of Ferguson alongside state troopers Thursday. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
  • Supporters raise their hands during a rally at Meridian Hill Park, also known as Malcom X Park, Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014 in Wa
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Supporters raise their hands during a rally at Meridian Hill Park, also known as Malcom X Park, Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014 in Washington, to protest the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by police in Ferguson, Mo. Vigils were held across the country for people organizers say died at the hands of police brutality. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
  • A group of women take part in a candlelight vigil in New York, Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, after nearly 1000 people marched in N
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A group of women take part in a candlelight vigil in New York, Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, after nearly 1000 people marched in New York’s Union Square. Vigils are being held across the country for people organizers say died at the hands of police brutality. The events come in the wake of the shooting death of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, and the death of a New York City man caused by a police officer's apparent chokehold. (AP Photo/Michael R. Sisak)
  • FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 14:  Capt. Ronald Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, who was appointed by the governor to ta
    Scott Olson via Getty Images
    FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 14: Capt. Ronald Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, who was appointed by the governor to take control of security operations in the city of Ferguson, walks among demonstrators gathered along West Florissant Avenue on August 14, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Violent protests have erupted along West Florissant in Ferguson each of the last four nights as demonstrators express outrage over the shooting death of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer on August 9.The governor appointed Johnson after receiving numerous complaints about the excessive show and use of force by the police against protestors and the news media covering the demonstrations. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) today called for the demilitarization of the police. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
  • FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 14:  Demonstrators shout slogans and hold up signs during a rally to protest the shooting death of an u
    Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
    FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 14: Demonstrators shout slogans and hold up signs during a rally to protest the shooting death of an unarmed teen by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 14, 2014. Eighteen-year-old Michael Brown was shot dead by police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri on August 09, 2014. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
  • FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 14:  Demonstrators take part in a rally to protest the shooting death of an unarmed teen by a police of
    Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
    FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 14: Demonstrators take part in a rally to protest the shooting death of an unarmed teen by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 14, 2014. Eighteen-year-old Michael Brown was shot dead by police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri on August 09, 2014. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
  • FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 14:  Demonstrators raise their hands during a rally to protest the shooting death of an unarmed teen by
    Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
    FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 14: Demonstrators raise their hands during a rally to protest the shooting death of an unarmed teen by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 14, 2014. Eighteen-year-old Michael Brown was shot dead by police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri on August 09, 2014. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
  • FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 14:  Demonstrators raise their hands during a rally to protest the shooting death of an unarmed teen by
    Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
    FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 14: Demonstrators raise their hands during a rally to protest the shooting death of an unarmed teen by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 14, 2014. Eighteen-year-old Michael Brown was shot dead by police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri on August 09, 2014. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
  • FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 14:  Demonstrators raise their hands during a rally to protest the shooting death of an unarmed teen by
    Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
    FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 14: Demonstrators raise their hands during a rally to protest the shooting death of an unarmed teen by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 14, 2014. Eighteen-year-old Michael Brown was shot dead by police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri on August 09, 2014. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
  • FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 14:  Policemen intervene demonstrators during a rally to protest the shooting death of an unarmed teen
    Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
    FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 14: Policemen intervene demonstrators during a rally to protest the shooting death of an unarmed teen by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 14, 2014. Eighteen-year-old Michael Brown was shot dead by police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri on August 09, 2014. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
  • FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 14:  Demonstrators shout slogans and hold up signs during a rally to protest the shooting death of an u
    Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
    FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 14: Demonstrators shout slogans and hold up signs during a rally to protest the shooting death of an unarmed teen by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 14, 2014. Eighteen-year-old Michael Brown was shot dead by police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri on August 09, 2014. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
  • FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 14:  Demonstrators shout slogans and hold up signs during a rally to protest the shooting death of an u
    Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
    FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 14: Demonstrators shout slogans and hold up signs during a rally to protest the shooting death of an unarmed teen by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 14, 2014. Eighteen-year-old Michael Brown was shot dead by police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri on August 09, 2014. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
  • FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 14:  A demonstrator holds up a sign during a rally to protest the shooting death of an unarmed teen by
    Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
    FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 14: A demonstrator holds up a sign during a rally to protest the shooting death of an unarmed teen by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 14, 2014. Eighteen-year-old Michael Brown was shot dead by police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri on August 09, 2014. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
  • FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 14:  Demonstrators raise their hands during a rally to protest the shooting death of an unarmed teen by
    Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
    FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 14: Demonstrators raise their hands during a rally to protest the shooting death of an unarmed teen by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 14, 2014. Eighteen-year-old Michael Brown was shot dead by police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri on August 09, 2014. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
  • FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 14:  Demonstrators raise their hands during a rally to protest the shooting death of an unarmed teen by
    Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
    FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 14: Demonstrators raise their hands during a rally to protest the shooting death of an unarmed teen by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 14, 2014. Eighteen-year-old Michael Brown was shot dead by police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri on August 09, 2014. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
  • FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 14:  Demonstrators hold up signs during a rally to protest the shooting death of an unarmed teen by a p
    Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
    FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 14: Demonstrators hold up signs during a rally to protest the shooting death of an unarmed teen by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 14, 2014. Eighteen-year-old Michael Brown was shot dead by police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri on August 09, 2014. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
  • FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 14:  Demonstrators raise their hands during a rally to protest the shooting death of an unarmed teen by
    Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
    FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 14: Demonstrators raise their hands during a rally to protest the shooting death of an unarmed teen by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 14, 2014. Eighteen-year-old Michael Brown was shot dead by police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri on August 09, 2014. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
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