Aretha: “Disturbing the Peace”

Disturbing the peace

“Black people will be free. I’ve been locked up (for disturbing the peace in Detroit) and I know you got to disturb the peace when you can’t get no peace. Jail is hell to be in. I’m going to see her free if there is any justice in our courts, not because I believe in communism, but because she’s a Black woman and she wants freedom for Black people.” – Aretha on Angela Davis, 1970


When I went home

Friday nights, he said,

walking the shadows

my mom played Natural Woman

when she felt good

and R E S P E C T

when she was mad




I walked my room

listening R E S P E C T


sexual it y

anthem of civil rights

she set

and How I got over

spiritu al I t y

the world

and how in 1970

“Angela Davis must go fre e

how every girl and boy

on fire

“I’ve been locked up

can shake off clouds

like dust

lifting higher a chorus


“and I know you got to disturb the peace


with her voice

like an angel

when you can’t get no peace

out-singin Lords

lifting uo

“I’m going to see her free

Gladys Knight

year of women

because she is a black woman

when everyone is standing up

she lay down

and wants freedom

uniting spirit and body

Alexandria Ocasio

Rashida Tlaib

we hear her voice

terrifying oatriarchs

Ilhan Omar


ever y

human be

I think of he


going home

and me

pacing my room

and how Aretha’s voice

makex us soar

like birds