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John Mellencamp has released a reworked version of Bob Dylan’s 1964 song “Only a Pawn in Their Game” about the assassination of civil rights activist Medger Evers.

Renamed “A Pawn In The White Man’s Game,” Mellencamp altered the song’s lyrics to reflect the current unrest around police brutality in the United States. The song is accompanied by a video (below) that is split into two screens showing footage from 1968 and 2020 of various moments of protests turned violent.

Mellencamp said in a statement shared via the video’s YouTube caption, “For my entire life, I have seen the mistreatment of minorities in our country. We have gone too far with the shameful killing and genocide … from the Native Americans to where we find ourselves today. In my own way, I have tried to address these issues in song.”

The opening verse reads:

I guess it’s still okay
To break the black man
So that they understand
Not to get out of hand
In our white land
They’re not part of the plan
They are under the thumbs
Underneath our white guns
That will put you in your grave
If you don’t behave
And stop your demands
Of a fair shot
Be happy for what you’ve got
Because you’re only a pawn
In the white man’s game

(WARNING: Video contains violent imagery.)

John Mellencamp A Pawn In The White Man's Game

For my entire life I have seen the mistreatment of minorities in our country. We have gone too far with the shameful killing and genocide ... from the Native...

Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock news blogger who's well versed in etiquette and extraordinarily nice.