Kiana Ledé Searches For the Heart in a Heartless Administration
Photo: Joseph Collier
In 2006, P!nk released "Dear Mr. President," a soft rock bout of outward questioning aimed at then president George W. Bush. 14 years later, the pop-rock maverick's series of blunt inquiries regarding No Child Left Behind, the industrial prison complex, women's rights, and a world leader's overarching callousness, feels all the more relevant. It is a sentiment shared by R&B artist Kiana Ledé, who reimagines P!nk's "Dear Mr. President" for the year 2020.
Released via Republic Records - the same label who made headlines earlier this month with their decision to drop the word "urban" when describing departments, employee titles, and music genres - "Dear Mr. President" arrives as a somber reflection of not only recent events but a troubling four years.
Written and recorded in the wake of George Floyd's heinous murder by police and continued civil unrest across the world, "Dear Mr. President" opens on a crowd chanting "No justice, no peace." The call-and-response has become a rallying cry for protestors who are sick and tired of being sick and tired with a system that has at every turn disenfranchised and targeted people of color, particularly African-Americans.
As the swell of chanting fades away, Ledé makes her way through a soulful imagining, trying to find the justification and empathy behind Donald Trump's decisions. The only interruption of this fruitless search for answers arrives in the form of a church organ, accenting the gospel undertones of the heavenly ballad, and another heartbreaking scene from the ongoing protests. "Hands up, don't shoot," bursts forth the crowd, echoing a plea that for far too long has fallen on deaf ears.
Ledé's reimagining of "Dear Mr. President" contextualizes an administration that for the past four years has sought to target the most vulnerable among us. It is a heartbreaking ode that seeks to find a semblance of reason and humanity in an administration that has solely acted out of a sense of heartlessness.
Listen to "Dear Mr. President" below: