Gary Clark Jr. shared his thoughts on the nationwide protests and the death of George Floyd in an Instagram post on Tuesday. The Texas guitarist, who recently detailed his experiences of growing up in the South on the title track of his record This Land, spoke for 10 minutes on his frustration over police killings and injustice within the country.
“I feel like every time I walk out of my goddamn house I could die today,” he said. “I’m a six-foot-four black man. I’m probably some of y’all’s worst nightmare.” Read the full transcript below.
I’ve been quiet a few days because I don’t know what to say. I’ve been thinking everything…but I’m tired. I don’t have any more words. I said everything I needed to say on the record. Express myself to all kinds of press and ended up being that guy in the little box on whatever news program talking about this shit.
I’m tired of crying on TV. I’m tired of being angry. I’m tired of being sad about it, tired of feeling depressed and anxious and fucked up. I feel like every time I walk out of my goddamn house, I could die today. I’m a six-foot-four black man. I’m probably some of y’all’s worst nightmare. If you didn’t know me, I’ve seen you walk across the street at night while I’m standing out front of my hotel smoking. I seen you clutch your shit on the subway.
My intentions are good, my heart is good — as George Floyd, as Breonna Taylor, as Ahmaud Arbery. We just want to wake up in the morning, go and make the most out of what we can, get what we can for ourselves and for our family and go the fuck back home. That’s all. Why’s it so hard? Why is that a worry and a challenge?
I don’t have any answers, but I do think this: I grew up in Texas with a lot of good old boys. I grew up in Texas with a lot of little country girls. A lot of parties, a lot of hanging out. Met a lot of cousins, a lot of grandmothers. And there were some Bradley’s in there — some motherfuckers who wear camo and love guns way too much but don’t hunt. Real quiet, kind of strange. I met some Karens, always want to complain, call the cops on somebody, doesn’t want to be racist. “I don’t want to be racist! Is this racist?” Yup.
Memaws, papas say some foul, backwards ass shit, but got some good hearts. Think the South will rise again, I-remember-the-good-old-days type of shit. Those people. I need y’all to talk to y’all’s people. Like for real, talk to those people. What do you gotta lose? You gonna lose a relationship with someone who’s got bad energy? Whose mentality is twisted? Scared to lose that, because of a last name or some shit? What is it? You scared to get cut off? You need those bills paid? What is it? Why don’t y’all stand up to those people?
I know that some of you right now are sitting around and jamming to Jimi Hendrix or Kendrick Lamar and Robert Johnson. Stevie Wonder. And to those of you too especially, musicians out here, you know who you are, man. Calling yourselves blues guys and R&B singers and shit. Playing Freddie King throughout your whole fucking set. Albert King lyrics all night long. B.B. King. Talking “Robert Johnson was the greatest!” and shit. Y’all praise them on their birthdays and the days that they passed.
But where are you standing up when we’re lying on the ground? We got knees in our necks. We got guns pointed at us, unarmed. We got our hands up in the air and they shoot us dead. Y’all appreciate us when we’re high and mighty and superstars, but when we need help, you got nothing?
I see some good people, we got allies out here. My wife’s one of them. Some people who will stand for us and fight for us and die for us, even. But for those of you who appreciate our culture and use our culture for your own gain, and for you to have some sort of self-esteem and feel like you can be somebody out here, it’s a represent for us, man. Otherwise you’re on that side.
You got direct access to those people who are fucking it up for everybody. Talk to them. That’s your family, that’s your demographic, those are your fans, those are your supporters. That loss, man. The loss or the hurt, you’re taught to be a certain way. We gotta stop that now. Talk to your people and raise your children up. Show them love and light so they can return and be beautiful gifts and share with you what they saw in the world, how they were opening and full of love. Let them go out and be a part of the world and work together. That’s how we’ve made it so far. Don’t fuck up the dream for everybody because you can’t say nothing. You don’t get to eat off of us and then leave us to die, or just leave us some scraps. And you’re over there, and let it be known then.