For the Morning Edition Song Project, the show has been reaching out to musicians in recent weeks for their take on the era of COVID-19, asking them to put their thoughts to music in an original song about life in 2020.
Our latest artist, Christylez Bacon, is a musician and rapper who grew up in Southeast Washington, D.C. It’s a section of the nation’s capital which sits across the Anacostia River and away from all the monuments the city is known for. Bacon says it “was kind of like growing up in Nigeria for me because everyone was Black,” and that the pandemic hit his old neighborhood hard.
“People want to go to work but aren’t able to, and that makes things really tight. And then you have a lot of people suffering from the things that will get you caught up the most with COVID, like high blood pressure, diabetes, all of these things,” he says. “And where I’m from, you’re in a food desert. If you can’t make the trek to the grocery store and get on the bus, it’s a tough situation for sure.”
He writes about this situation in his song “Quarantined,” which begins with a personal story of his mom getting sick in late January — although they’re not sure if they’ll ever know whether it was from the coronavirus. NPR’s David Greene talks to Christylez Bacon about his visit to the emergency room with his mother, about how the pandemic exposes inequalities within American society and the hypocrisy of companies tweeting about Black Lives Matter without taking actions to prove it. Listen to the full conversation in the audio player above.