Leslie Odom Jr. has released new single “Speak Now.” The actor-singer’s song appears in the title credits of Regina King’s One Night in Miami, which he also stars in, and on its official soundtrack. Odom portrays Sam Cooke in the film about a historic gathering between Cooke, Cassius Clay (soon to take the name Muhammad Ali), Malcolm X, and Jim Brown.
Cowritten by Odom and Sam Ashworth, the affecting “Speak Now” addresses civil rights. His voice and lyrics serve as a salve as well as a call to action during contentious times. “I swear we’ll never find our way to where we’re going, all alone (on our own),” he sings over a reflective acoustic guitar melody. ”Don’t take your eyes off the road/Can you hear the bells ring out?/Speak now, speak now/Can you hear the angels singin’ loud?/Speak now, speak now.”
“The movie is so special to me. Sam Cooke is dear to us all. We tried to hide that in the song we wrote,” the Hamilton actor said in a statement. “In ‘Speak Now’ we’ve called out to young people. It is an urgent call to action — to speakset alongside our urging them to first listen. Listen… and then speak. We listen for instruction, for inspiration. Malcolm left them for us. Sam left them. So Sam Ashworth and I listened to them all. And then we wrote.”
One Night in Miami — which also stars Eli Goree as Clay, Kingsley Ben-Adir as Malcolm X, and Aldis Hodge as Brown — will be available for streaming via Amazon Prime on January 15th, the same day the film’s soundtrack will be released.