Playing a grand piano in the middle of an empty city street, Alicia Keys performed her new song “Perfect Way to Die” at the 2020 BET Awards on Sunday (June 28). The song is written from the perspective of a mother who’s watched her child become yet another fatality of systemic racism and police brutality in America.
After singing the gently heartbreaking ballad, Keys stepped back from the piano and took a knee in protest. The camera pulled back to reveal the names of many lost Black lives written in chalk on the street.
Keys’ performance was followed by a montage of celebrities, from Kendrick Lamar to Laverne Cox to Spike Lee to Whoopi Goldberg, reading the names of Black Americans who have lost their lives to systemic racism, from Emmett Till to Malcolm X to Michael Brown to George Floyd.