In an album that Lady Gaga says goes “right for the gut,” her fifth album that came out Friday includes a song about the death of Trayvon Martin and conversations with her black fans.
The song “Angel Down” on Joanne references the 17-year-old’s 2012 shooting that subsequently started the Black Lives Matter movement. The song appears twice on the album.
Martin was shot by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Fla., when he was walking through a neighborhood after buying food from a convenience store. Zimmerman claimed he was injured in an altercation between the two and said he defended himself under Florida’s stand your ground law. Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter.
Martin’s father visited Bradenton last week, bringing a message of hope despite tragedy.
“Shots were fired on the street/By the church where we used to meet,” Gaga croons. “Angel down, angel down/But the people just stood around.”
In an Oct. 20 interview with Beats 1’s Zane Lowe, Gaga said that she thought it was complicated because she is white, but she felt like she had to do something about “the epidemic of young African-Americans being murdered in this country.”
Her fans had told her they were afraid.
“They tell me the drive in their cars, and if they hear a siren, there is a paranoia that rushes through their body, that they freeze up, that they can’t think,” she told Lowe during the interview.
She said she hopes that her lyrics and music can reach people.
“No matter how much we want to just have fun,” Gaga said, “the more that we mask the shame of this anxiety, the harder it’s gonna be to heal.”