The acoustic guitar-driven ballad features frontman Jon Bon Jovi’s take on the current state of affairs in the U.S. and the killing of George Floyd, whose death ultimately helped renew calls to put an end to systemic oppression earlier this year.
Floyd, a Black man, died on May 25 after a white police officer kneeled on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds during an arrest in Minneapolis, Minn.
“America’s on fire / There’s protests in the street / Another mother’s crying as history repeats / I can’t breathe / God damn those long eight minutes / Laying face down in cuffs on the ground,” Bon Jovi sings in the opening verse.
“I was moved to write American Reckoning as a witness to history. I believe the greatest gift of an artist is the ability to use their voice to speak to issues that move us,” the 58-year-old singer said in an official statement.
In support of the Black Lives Matter movement, Bon Jovi will donate 100 per cent of the net proceeds from downloads of American Reckoning to Bryan Stevenson‘s Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) until Dec. 31.
EJI was founded by Stevenson — an American lawyer who has dedicated his career to helping incarcerated people who cannot afford legal counsel — back in 1989 and is committed to not only ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the U.S. but also challenging racial and economic injustice and protecting basic human rights for vulnerable American citizens.
The four-minute, 40-second track also serves as a bonus track set to appear on Bon Jovi’s upcoming 15th studio album, Bon Jovi 2020.
American Reckoning is now available through all major streaming platforms.
Additionally, the song’s official lyric video can be seen above.
Following the tour’s cancellation, the worldwide release of Bon Jovi 2020 was pushed from May 15 to Oct. 2.
As of this writing, it’s unclear when Bon Jovi will return to the road to play another show. For additional updates and information, you can visit the official Bon Jovi website.