Anderson .Paak performed his compelling new protest song “Lockdown” with Jay Rock for the first time on Sunday (June 28) at the BET Awards, which are being held virtually due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Released earlier this month amid nationwide protests against police brutality and racial inequality, the funk-inflected song reflects the current moment, with lyrics touching on systemic racism, the current pandemic and the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minnesota police officers in May. In the poignant first verse, Anderson .Paak raps: “Stayin’ quiet when they killin’ n***as, but you speak loud / When we riot, got opinions comin’ from a place of privilege / Sicker than the COVID how they did him on the ground / Speakin’ of the COVID, is it still goin’ around?”
During the streamed performance, the singer, rapper and musician first appeared at his drum set with a painted-on black eye, his face blotched with fake blood. Rapping through a microphone shaped like a flashlight, he then passed by a team of Black dancers and a mural depicting police officers at a protest before approaching Jay Rock, who popped in to deliver his own hard-hitting verse.
Anderson .Paak, who released his fourth studio album Ventura last year, is up for best male R&B/pop artist at the 20th BET Awards. Watch his performance below.