The song originated as a response to the racial injustice and violence confronting the black community. Sessoms "wanted to show what happens in any family when one member is taken away. The whole family struggles with that loss, especially when it's unexpected or due to violence. The whole family is very often changed forever."
Following the 2014 death of Eric Garner, who was put in a chokehold by an NYPD officer, Sessoms says she "cried for what happened for his family." It was the same way she reacted to what happened to Rodney King, Michael Brown, Sandra Bland and Freddie Gray, all of whom were also involved in controversial interactions with authorities. "A day or two after watching the Garner incident," says Sessoms, "I started to write down my thoughts."
She started putting together the Life albums in 2014, the first of which was released last November. "In the back of my mind," recalls Sessoms, "I thought, maybe just maybe, I'll do something with those jumbled words and incomplete sentences."
Those words formed a compelling narrative after Sessoms read about Erica Garner seeking justice for her dad. "I listened to her speak," says Sessoms, "and afterward I think I kind of finished it for her. I was awestruck by Erica. Watching her made me incredibly proud of her strength and resilience in the face of such a heartbreaking tragedy."
Praises Whitfield, the video's featured artist and a veteran of Billboard's jazz charts for over three decades, "Vivian possesses a rare gift: the ability to transcend genres and moments in time by using her timeless vocal stylings to express deep emotion and sentiment that immediately translates to everyone. I'm ever so proud to have played a small role in helping her deliver this latest message of protest in the form of hope for our future as a whole and freedom from despair as a people."
Adds Sessoms, "I want to honor and remember Erica and Eric Garner—and so many others."