John Legend's new release "In America" explores the paradox of the United States as a land of great anguish and possibility for black folk. He wrote the track with producer/songwriter Dave Tozer for WGN America's pre-Civil War series Underground.
“When John and I were writing ‘In America,’ we wanted to give voice to the frustration that some people have been feeling in recent times," Tozer told Rolling Stone. "To channel the experiences of people who feel targeted for who they are and those forced to work long hours just to keep their families afloat, and show that as a country we sometimes struggle to live up to the promise of the American dream. But we also wanted it to be hopeful, and show the optimism that leads people to pursue that dream.”
Indeed, Legend sings with moral outrage and hope in equal measure, ultimately achieving uplift by repeating the affirmation "We'll make it in America" amidst blazing organ and church choir.
In America, in America
I still can’t breathe in America
Watch them squeezing my neck
Watch them bullets connect
We still gonna fight in America