Reverend Osagyefo Sekou channels the intertwining legacies of Black liberation theology and racial justice activism in all of his work. Whether he’s risking arrest for kneeling in prayer during the Ferguson uprising, or making gospel-infused music about fighting oppression, the St. Louis-born and Arkansas-raised artist and activist employs the same understanding of music’s sacred importance to building and sustaining movements. That perspective saturates his upcoming album, “In Times Like These,” which we premiere today (May 3) ahead of its official release Friday (May 5). 

Produced by Luther and Cody Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars, “In Times Like These” features Sekou singing about glorious resistance. Its mix of political and spiritual concerns appears most clearly on the title track, which features the following lyrics: 

Persecuted but not forsaken
Been 400 years, and they still can’t break us
Sometimes I feel like giving up, I cannot lie
Too busy working for my freedom, ain’t got time to die.
In times like these, we need a miracle,
Ain’t nobody gone save us, we’re the ones we’ve been waiting for.

“This record is an ode the blues people who made me who I am,” Sekou told Colorlines. “They are all I am and I hope to be. The genius of poor Black rural folks may be one of the guiding lights in these dark days of democracy.” 

Listen to “In Times Like These” below before it drops Friday via Thirty Tigers Records.