Last week, as the country was reeling from the officer-involved shootings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and Philandro Castile in Minnesota plus a peaceful protest in Dallas that ended with deadly violence, local hip-hop artist, social worker and activist Da’Shade Moonbeam quietly released the video for a timely blast of fire, “Power.”
The song is a rallying cry for the modern battle against injustice that pays homage to the Public Enemy classic “Fight the Power.” The artist born Jeffrey Johnson recorded the track and the video over a year ago. It was sitting on a hard drive with no release date when he returned from the Austin Black Lives Matter demonstration in Givens Park last Thursday.
“I left the vigil at Givens Park feeling like almost every black man in America, feeling like I wasn’t safe anywhere,” Johnson said Monday morning. “I thought to myself if I’d died right then and there, that the art I had worked so hard on would never see the light of day. Since I felt powerless, I needed a reminder that we have all of the power.”
The video segues from vintage civil rights footage to a crowd of Austinites marching in protest of recent police violence and “the new Jim Crow.” It includes wicked sword work from Johnson’s brother in capoeira and stage combat Da’Mon Stith, a silent cameo from ATX hip-hop elder statesman Bavu Blakes and a stirring call for unity delivered with verbal ferocity from Johnson.
Johnson has been active in the local Black Lives Matter movement from the beginning. Moving past last week’s turmoil he aims to “continue to allow myself to be emotional, vulnerable, and take my time before making any drastic changes,” he said.
He’s taking care of himself and his family and trying “to move past the anger and fear a bit more each day.”
Beyond that, Johnson says his goal is to “educate myself on what I can do to be more involved with local and state wide legislation, do my part to help dismantle this oppressive system and encourage others to join this fight.”