Jake Clemons, saxophonist for Bruce Springsteen, releases powerful Juneteenth song

Some are born to run, others are “Born Like Me.”

Jake Clemons, saxophonist for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, will release the single “Born Like Me,” a powerful statement on race, civil rights and an imbalanced social structure that tilts away from people of color. “Born Like Me” will be released on Wednesday, June 19, or Juneteenth, the day in 1865 when the Union army arrived in Galveston, Texas, to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people be freed.

“ ‘Born Like Me’ as both a song and a music video is one of my most deep reaching artistic efforts to date,” said Clemons in a statement. “The song was written at a time when the turmoil of the unjust executions of our American brothers and sisters were being captured on camera and highlighted amongst a wide media backdrop.

"A time when the realities of such painful discrepancies in our justice system were being brought into focus as voices crying for a stronger sense of humanity were ringing in the streets.”

Saxophonist Jake Clemons performs with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band on March 19 during Springsteen's tour relaunch at the Footprint Center in Phoenix.
Saxophonist Jake Clemons performs with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band on March 19 during Springsteen's tour relaunch at the Footprint Center in Phoenix.

Clemons, a native of Virginia, is the nephew of the late Clarence Clemons.

“The stories of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor’s last moments among the living drew me in to recount the harshness of their earthly departures,” Clemons said. “This was happening to the folks ‘born like me.’ ”

The track features vocalist Allison Russell and guitarist Tom Morello, founding member of Rage Against the Machine. An interpretive black-and-white video features modern dance from the Virginia Governor’s School for the Arts, Clemons' high school alma mater.

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“I felt strongly about the importance of a powerful youthful representation coupled with a sincere level of artistic excellence to help tell the story and there is no better resource for this than (the Governor's School of the Arts),” Clemons said.

Clemons, who lives in Montral, is currently on tour with the E Street Band. He plays solo shows on Thursday, Aug. 8, in Halifax, Canada, and Saturday, Aug. 10, on Prince Edward Island, Canada. Visit jakeclemons.com for more information.

“I firmly believe that each of us are connected,” Clemons said. “All of humanity is ultimately made up of one single beautiful family, and it requires us to love and protect every part of it to make us whole.”

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Chris Jordan, a Jersey Shore native, covers entertainment and features for the USA Today Network New Jersey. Contact him at cjordan@app.com.

This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: Jake Clemons releases Juneteenth song, Springsteen sax player

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