Behind the Music: Come Home Tonight
Two days before my birthday, on February 12th, 2020: I witnessed an East Harlem Social worker get gunned down by a teenager because he was “in the way” when a gang dispute broke out. This happened within a matter of seconds, in broad daylight in the middle of a busy sidewalk and a generally safe neighborhood. It was just a few blocks from where I live.
I was standing just a couple of feet away from the shooter, and even closer to the black man who was shot.
I called 911.
The ambulance took over 20 minutes to arrive, and when the police came on the scene didn’t seem to be moving with any urgency. It seemed that they assumed that this black male gunshot victim was just a “gang member.” He didn’t matter to them. They let him lay there, dying, while a crowd of people watched on helplessly.
It is still scary to think how quickly it turned from just a “regular day” to something so… incredibly tragic. He was pleading for his life while onlookers crouched behind cars and ducked into stores. The gang kept fighting. They dispersed when the police showed up, but still no paramedics.
The man kept repeating, “Somebody please help me,” before he could no longer speak. He looked right at me. And I tried to tell the dispatcher to hurry. But he ran out of time.
I couldn’t get it out of my head: “Somebody, somebody, somebody, please.” So that line became the refrain in this song. Writing these lyrics helped me to process what had happened.
I wasn’t going to produce the track. It felt like something I should keep for myself. It was going to stay in the vault.
But a few weeks later, there was a resurgence in the Black Lives Matter movement due to the endless, senseless killings of black people at the hands of Police. At the hands of the very people we entrust to protect us. At the hands of the people that created this societal disparity- the rich and the poor. The good neighborhoods and the bad neighborhoods. Suburbia versus street.
I had to release this project for the world, because I believe this song gives a voice to the hopelessness that every Black American feels in knowing that at any “ordinary” moment- your life could be taken senselessly and unjustly.
Prayers up to everyone who doesn’t get to come home tonight. I hope this song helps to tell some of those stories.
Adrielle Bow Belle