In between sets from Meek Mill and Beyoncé, Usher rallied against racial injustice during his performance at the TIDAL X: 1020 concert at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. For the first time, the R&B crooner performed “Chains,” an anti-police brutality anthem which features Nas and singer Bibi Bourelly.
Usher began his performance in handcuffs, taking them off halfway through to emphasize the song’s liberation theme. Then Nas appeared, rose his fist in the black power salute, and tore through his fiery verse, which references victims of police brutality like Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner.
“In writing this song, I was motivated by the events involving prejudicial injustice that are still happening today,” said Usher, who debuted an interactive video for the song. “The reality is that racial bigotry diminishes the lives of too many people in our country. We have to come together as a country to solve these problems and this is one way I can contribute.”
Watch the powerful performance, which aired on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”