Soon after Hurricane Katrina hit, Irvin Lee wanted to express his outrage and frustration over the devastation and response — but for a while, he just couldn’t.
“I couldn’t kind of capture it into one little capsule for a song,” the songwriter-producer said. “How was I going to say it? How am I going to put it? I was taking it too personal, so that’s why I decided to let it be.”
But he eventually managed to do it with “Hurricane Song,” now available for free on the Internet — one of several songs about the disaster that is making its way around the Web.
“My song is about the victims and what they felt, and what you felt watching it,” he said. “My song is about the emotions about what happened as a black person and as any person.”
Lee’s song, performed by singer Allen Watty, speaks about frustration over lack of aid and the delayed response by federal officials to the storm. Its lyrics include lines like, “Then it hit me, ain’t nobody coming to get me, nobody feels my pain, once again the color of my skin reminds me things ain’t changed!”
“It was very painful and personal,” said Lee, who’s based in Fairfax, Va. “It really said a lot when people didn’t show up. It was one thing after another.”
‘Bush Doesn’t Care About Black People’ samples West songLee’s song follows another song that’s become widely circulated on the Internet: “George Bush Doesn’t Care About Black People.” The song is performed by the Houston-based rap duo The Legendary K.O. (Damien Randle and Micah Nickerson) and partly inspired by rapper Kanye West’s now-famous blast of the president during a nationally televised Katrina telethon. It samples West’s “Gold Digger” (which itself sample’s Ray Charles’ “I’ve Got A Woman”).
While Randle said the pair was surprised by the song’s popularity — they only sent it off to a few friends before bloggers helped circulate it — he said the song has been so popular because it has helped express the feelings many in the country have.
“There are a lot of people not only in this country and in this world that actually feel that way. It touched a nerve for a lot of people,” he said. “You haven’t really seen anyone call the president’s actions into question like that, using a very popular form, like music.”
Lee says his song is not a slam against Bush, although he does feel race played a factor in the delay of aid.
“I think (the song) has some political elements, because the government didn’t respond. It’s political for sure because George Bush came forward himself and said there was a mistake,” he said.
Lee says he has gotten requests from radio stations who want to air the song, and is in talks to get the song released commercially.
“My goal was to reach the world with this song,” he said. “Right now, we’re trying to expose the song as much as possible.”