Dev Hynes offers annotations for Sandra’s Smile

His latest song as Blood Orange offers his perspective on race relations in the modern United States

The Anglo-American singer-songwriter Dev Hynes’ released Sandra’s Smile just yesterday. The song tackles two high-profile incidents of racism in the US last year, the murder of Sandra Bland and the unlawful killing of Trayvon Martin.

In a series of annotations on the website Genius Hynes has now detailed how those events informed the song’s lyrical themes. Read them below and head over to Genius for see the original annotations.

Made you feel so loved, then shook your hand with gloves

Culture vultures make us feel so good, so great… so a part of something, at least for a little while. How many times have you heard of some celebrity whose career is indebted to black people and their love of black people, who then have to put out a public apology for throwing around the term nigga, or the other side, become deafly silent when we really need their help or voice?

You watched her pass away the words she said weren’t faint

We all saw Sandra Bland die, we all heard the words she said as it happened.

Closed our eyes for a while, but I still see Sandra’s smile

I had a somewhat delayed depression upon Sandra’s death. I was hurt and upset and mad instantly, of course… but I think a part of me had my eyes closed, as a form of numbness…a few days later it hit me and i was unconsolable.

Look, an hour ago.. I read Sybrina’s quote.
I mean, why should she forgive?
D’we lose you if, we don’t?

I was reading the interview with Sybrina Fulton [Trayvon Martin’s mother] in NYMAG where she says she is not ready to forgive, and saw it become such a huge story. It’s insane to me people even pose this question to her, it’s no ones business except for hers. On top of that, when a white family loses a member to a tragic situation such as a school shooting, that question isn’t thrown on them, so why is Sybrina asked it? This is a deeper question, and one I’ve been writing about in my personal time a lot, the idea of Christianity in black culture, and thus the views of which we view the black mother in society.