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The Video for Prince’s Unearthed ‘Mary Don’t You Weep’ Is a Chilling Depiction of Gun Violence
A year before his death in 2016, Prince had become a vocal gun control advocate after the death of Freddie Gray, the black man who died while in police custody in Baltimore. It inspired him to organize the Rally 4 Peace on Mother’s Day, and release the song “Baltimore,” which included the lyrics “The system is broken. It’s going to take the young people to fix it this time. We need new ideas, new life.”
These words from Prince’s song inspire the video for his recently discovered cover of “Mary Don’t You Weep.” It’s a somber, jazz-inspired piano version of the song that comes from Piano & a Microphone 1983—a set of songs culled from Prince’s vault that he recorded just as his career was taking off. In an interesting composition, Prince pivots away from the cover part way through the song, singing a bit of “Strange Relationship,” a track he’d later record for Sign ‘O’ the Times.
The video, filmed by Salomon Ligthelm, shows the spirit of a victim of gun violence watching over his family as they grieve his death. It’s a tragic depiction of the cause Prince was fighting for before his sudden death in 2016. It ends with another Prince quote: “Compassion is an action word with no boundaries.”