After this year's horrific mass shooting in Parkland, Florida left 17 dead, young new artist Sage began work on a song. Sage, then a high-school senior, brought an early version of the tune to his sister, Kesha. On the final track — released on Friday (October 12) via a gripping video made in partnership with March For Our Lives — the two team up on a powerful, memorable chorus: "I don't wanna be brave / I just wanna be safe."
The song's three minutes are also highlighted by verses from rising Nigerian-American rapper Chika, whose words paint a painfully visual of the gun-violence epidemic in America. And in the accompanying video, that epidemic, and its frustrating cyclicality, is on full display.
Sage appears briefly on a television alongside talking heads discussing that very cycle, but the rest of the runtime is devoted to portraying what's called "the most vicious cycle" — in other words, what happens after a mass shooting, when we ultimately end up exactly where we began. To illustrate this, the YouTube upload contains three runs of the same video, caught in a seemingly endless loop, as a gunman's bullet (and the gun lobby's deep pockets) sets off a twisted Rube Goldberg-like labyrinth of damage throughout a school.
Kesha paired her contributions on this song with a stirring op-ed in Teen Vogue, also published on October 12. "It's sad to me that many politicians, pundits, and everyday Americans dismiss gun violence, not just mass shootings in schools, as just another part of the culture in our country," she wrote. "I wish it wasn't. It doesn't have to be."
She references her brother Sage, as well as their collaborator Chika, as fellow supporters of "candidates who support common sense gun laws in this November's midterm elections, so that we can finally end senseless gun violence."
"United, our voices are more powerful, and now we want to ask you to be part of this movement with us," she ends the op-ed, calling for everyone to come together to "break the vicious cycle." Read her full, compelling letter here, and watch the "Safe" music video above.
For more from March For Our Lives, see MTV News's coverage from the historic rally in March 2018 below.