Hit US series Empire
are getting fans fired up for the show's return on Wednesday (September 21) with a brand new, politically-charged single featuring Attitude cover star Jussie Smollet
, who plays Jamal in the show.
The song, called Need Freedom
, was originally written for character Freda Gatz, who we last saw in jail in Season Two; but it now refocuses on recent shooting in the US, covering both black Americans killed by police brutality
and the victims of the Pulse nightclub shootings
Smollett spoke to Billboard
to explain how the song developed. “I recorded this exactly seven days after Philando Castile was shot. Between the shootings of Castile, Alton Sterling, at the Pulse in Orlando and the police officers in Dallas — not to mention the other numerous killings over the last couple of years — it was like we couldn’t breathe,” he said.
He continued: "What are we doing as a people, a nation; what messages are we sending to the next generation?”
Smollett showcased the song on his Instagram last week, giving us a preview before the full release.
The timely track reminds us that "love's in need," while its lyrics reference a number of recent gun-related incidents.
“Too many guns on the streets and my heart can’t take it no more
Like Stevie said, love’s in need
My heart cries out for Orlando, Philando, Alton, Sandra, Mike Brown, Garner, Trayvon
Why too many people gone too soon.”
Listen to the new song below.
Season three of Empire
premiers on FOX, September 21.
Read our interview with Empire's Jussie Smollet and check out his Naomi Campbell's exclusive joint shoot in Attitude's September issue, available to download now from pocketmags.com/attitude.