When Dave Hause and his brother and collaborator Tim decided to write “Your Ghost” in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, they knew they had to get it just right. Two white guys from Philly writing about racial injustice and police brutality could land with a thud. So Hause “vetted it fiercely,” sending their song to an array of black voices to get their feedback, from fellow artists to a professor of anthropology at Temple University.
“I felt like if we didn’t do that, it would just be gross,” Hause says. “I learned a ton from the experience.”
“Your Ghost” is an ominous, droning protest ballad, driven along by a military drumbeat and Amythyst Kiah’s roiling banjo. Kiah, who’s a member of the collaborative project Our Native Daughters, also sings on the track, along with Kam Franklin of the Suffers. By song’s end, all three are repeating a chorus of “I can’t breathe.” “Oh what a privilege to pretend that we can’t see,” Hause sings, hoping that the ghosts of those killed by police “haunt all of our dreams.”
“This song really gets to the heart and soul of the devastation that police brutality causes, and Dave did a remarkable job at capturing that,” Kiah says. “Violence by police toward unarmed people, and in many cases unarmed people of color, who should be treated as innocent until proven guilty, breaks trust between the community and the people in uniform that are meant to serve and protect.”
“Music is my strongest form of protest right now,” Franklin says. “The only way that the stories and atrocities against people like George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, or Tamir Rice won’t be forgotten is by telling them over and over again.”
Hause, the former leader of the punk band the Loved Ones, has pledged all proceeds from “Your Ghost” to the Philadelphia Community Bail Fund.
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