Dominic Fike has been poised for his debut breakout moment for the past few years now, scoring a No. 1 on the Alternative Songs chart in 2018 ("3 Nights") and palling around with Brockhampton. He also got his own song, the ethereal "Dominic's Interlude," on Halsey's album Manic earlier this year, where he managed to make a mere 76 seconds sound like a maximalist celebration.
Fike's first single from his first album was due to be released last week, but in a new note posted to Instagram on Monday (June 8), he explained why that was put on hold. "Instead something much more important happened," he wrote. "People were forced to have a conversation that's long been overdue. It doesn't feel right to release music today but it does feel right to continue this conversation."
From there, Fike dives into his family's own troubled backstory with police, one that's resulted in, as he says, the beating of his mother by law enforcement as well as the incarceration of his brothers, aunts, uncles, and his father. "My life has felt cursed since I was a little kid," he writes. "I've since realized the real curse is [that] the system we live in is designed for us to lose, again and again."
Fike also mentions his own felony battery charge, for which he served eight months in county jail in Florida. "I tried to defuse a situation with the police and my younger brother, I interfered and the cop made up a story to fit his actions," he wrote. "The judge thought I was better off with this shit on my record. I'm lucky I could do music, since no one will ever hire me." Despite this, Fike says he can't tour in the U.K. and go other places due to his conviction.
"None of these decisions were based on trying to help us, they wanted us to disappear," he wrote.
The second half of the note is more optimistic, grounded in the reality that over the past few weeks, global demonstrations against systemic racism and police brutality have begun to spur lawmakers to change certain longstanding policies. "This is a time for us to stand strong and demand justice for the innocent [B]lack lives being taken from us — George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and all the names we'll never get to know."
Fike ends his note with a call to defund the police, citing how the Florida community where he grew up — Naples, a "sleepy, conservative beachtown that doesn't like disruptions or disruptors" — boasts a yearly police budget of $200 million, while mental-health resources received a comparatively paltry $5 million. "Our tax dollars are paying for unfocused, undisciplined over-policing instead of going towards the people they're supposed to be protecting," he wrote. "I'd love to see all these fucked-up departments defunded."
"I'll get you the music soon but we've got other things to do right now," he concluded, along with a link to resources about defunding the police. Read Fike's note in full above.