Russian Duo, Pussy Riot Releases First English Song ‘I Can’t Breathe’ in Honor of Eric Garner

Russian music duo Pussy Riot just released their first song in English and it has everyone talking. The group compiled of Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has made their English speaking debut in honor of the late Eric Garner, by titling their song “I Can’t Breathe,” and following it with a music video which suggests their opposition to the wrongful death of Garner.

The phrase “I Can’t Breathe” became a viral saying on social media in 2014 when a New York City man by the name of Eric Garner was choked to death by a police officer and held down by other officers. Garner’s very last words were “I Can’t Breathe,” before he lost his life to asphyxiation. His death was widely covered in the media, as it was the second murder of a black man by hand of a police officer in the year of 2014. Eric Garner’s name as well as his dying declaration ‘I Can’t Breathe,” became associated with the Black Lives Matter Movement, a political movement to bring awareness for the systematic mistreatment of people of color by police nationwide.

The members of Pussy Riot saw the controversy surrounding the Eric Garner case as an opportunity for performance-art. The Atlantic reported that Pussy Riot’s “I Can’t Breathe is a mixture of personal experiences and the events leading to the murder of Eric Garner. Pussy Riot recently made a statement in which they official dedicate their song.

“This song is for Eric and for all those from Russia to America and around the globe who suffer from state terror—killed, choked, perished because of war and state-sponsored violence of all kinds—for political prisoners and those on the streets fighting for change.”

The music video for “I Can’t Breathe,” includes vivid symbolism which consists of group members Maria and Nadezhda being buried alive. With the thoughts that their video may be too symbolistic from Americans to understand, the band made a statement to the true meaning of the music video.

“Policemen, soldiers, agents, they become hostages and are buried with those they kill, both figuratively and literally.”

According to Pussy Riot members, this scene is symbolic of people being terrorised by their own country, an issue that the group is strongly against.

“Illegal violence in the name of the state kills not only its victims, but those who are chosen to carry out these actions.”

Pussy Riot’s “I Can’t Breathe,” music video was released a mere two days ago and already has already acquired over 300,000 Youtube views.

Photo via [Getty Images]