When Queen Bey released her latest track, one day after what would have been Trayvon Martin’s 21st birthday and one day before what would have been Sandra Bland’s 29th birthday, it immediately served as a Black-power anthem. With references to police brutality, Black Lives Matter and life after Katrina, it’s impossible to hate the catchy song and vivid montage.
Before Beyoncé starts to sing, there is someone that provides the vocal sample that says, “What happened at the New Wil’ins?” and “Bitch, I’m back by popular demand.” Of course it seems that Beyoncé is talented enough to acquire those words, but the voice belongs to an actual human being.
Messy Mya, born Anthony M. Barre, was a popular member of the New Orleans bounce rap scene along with Big Freedia, who also appears in the video. If you ever followed Mya on YouTube, the purple hair, short comic videos commenting on life and dissing anyone that got on his bad side, were hard to miss. One of his catchphrases: “Now who gonna pop me?”
But Mya isn’t around anymore to hear the same song that everyone has on repeat. On November 14, 2010, at the age of twenty-two, Mya was shot and killed while leaving a baby shower for the mother of his child. News of his death first gained attention via social media, but the investigation into his murder remains unsolved.
Though a suspect stepped forward, his defense lawyer presented evidence that his client was bipolar and was not on medication when he confessed to committing the horrific crime that ending the life (and legacy of Messy Mya.) He was then released in 2013 from prison after eventually being able to provide alibis. For some in New Orleans, the fact that Beyoncé included Mya and Big Freedia is a significant moment.
In addition, Beyoncé, in all her fame and glory, was able to recognize both Mya and Big Freedia’s impact, and implore her fans all in one Grammy worth song. “I don’t want my brother’s death to be just another homicide in New Orleans,”Mya’s sister, AnjelleBarre, told Shive Magazine soon after he died.
Check out this video of Messy Mya below:
By: Ajea Nicole
Ajea Nicole is a 20 something from Boston, MA who craves anything style related. Though her love of style originated from scouring her mom’s closet, she often gleans style inspiration from Solange and June Ambrose. When she is not catching up on Project Runway, she can be found working out at the gym, reading a good book or somewhere in a sushi restaurant. Connect with her! Twitter: @ajeanicole Instagram: @ajeanicole