Ranky Tanky performed as part of “We are One,” a celebration of the accomplishments of Black Americans, in conjunction with the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris today.
The band played the somber “Beat Em Down” from the 2019 LP Good Time. As always, the band’s musicianship is impeccable, anchored by vocalist Quiana Parler. “Beat ’em down love/ I’ll use my heart’s love to beat ’em down,” she sings in the chorus.
Ranky Tanky chose to play this tune because it “calls upon our collective strength to beat down this era of fear, hate, racism and violence, and to embrace all that we may become through love, peace, kindness and equality,” according to drummer Quentin Baxter.
Before the band performed, South Carolina Congressman and House Majority Whip James Clyburn spoke about the importance of historically black colleges and universities.
“I think about my daddy often and what he was able to accomplish, and what he was able to instill in me, and what South Carolina State has instilled in me,” he said. “And I’ll think about that tomorrow, as we elevate to the second highest position in this country an HBCU graduate, a member of the Divine Nine.”
Clyburn’s speech is at the 42:56 mark and Ranky Tanky’s performance immediately follows.