Macy Gray on her new album and supporting families who have lost loved ones to police violence

Macy Gray's new album, The Reset, scheduled to be released this summer, will give Gray a chance to get people dancing again, while carrying messages of activism and healing.

“The album was written right in the thick of the pandemic,” Gray tells Yahoo Life. “It was just a really good time to make an album because everybody was emotive and expressing themselves. Everybody was just like releasing and letting go. Most musicians are musicians because they aren’t great communicators, so it all came out in the album. “

“There is a song called PTSD, which is a song about how my country gave me PTSD, cause after all that I was traumatized,” adds Gray.

The trauma of witnessing police brutality also spurred her into action. In 2020, Gray co-founded My Good, an organization created to provide support to families who have lost a loved one to police violence. Regardless of the circumstances, MyGood provides emotional resources and financial support to families dealing with an impossible loss.

The journey through grief is long and winding for these families, but Gray hopes that the kindness and support they receive from MyGood can ease some of the pain.

Video transcript

After the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor in 2020, singer and songwriter Macy Gray was inspired to help families impacted by police violence and continues to spread her message through music. I'm Brittany Jones-Cooper, and this is "Unmuted."

Today, I'm sitting down with Grammy award-winning singer and songwriter Macy Gray to talk about her new album and her nonprofit, My Good. I know you are planning the release of your long-awaited album, "The Reset." So, what does that title mean to you, "The Reset"?

MACY GRAY: The album was written right in the thick of the pandemic, so that year. Everybody was emoting and expressing themselves. And there's a song called PTSD, and that's about how my country gave me PTSD. [CHUCKLES] After all that, I was traumatized. Everybody was just, like, releasing and letting go.

Most musicians are musicians because they're not great communicators. So, it all came out in the album.

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: You mentioned PTSD. And after George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, I think a lot of us felt that way in 2020. And you took those feelings and you launched a nonprofit called My Good.

MACY GRAY: If you lose a kid, you shouldn't have to worry about money. My Good is here for the families to provide the tools for them to rebuild. It's a very unique foundation in that we support the families who have lost loved ones due to police brutality.

GWEN CARR: When they told me that that young man mimicked the same words that my son had, it just sent chills up and down my spine. And it was like my son echoing from the grave.

MACY GRAY: There's nothing you can fix when you lose a son or a daughter or a relative. But we come in and try to make things a little bit easier. Most of it is like funeral costs, unfortunately. Mental health. That's our biggest request, I [? think. ?] In the aftermath of that, people say they really need somebody to talk to.

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: When I was four, my uncle died in police custody. And I watched how that rippled through my family. So, when I saw the work that you're doing with My Good, I thought, wow. That's such an important role because so often those families are just forgotten, or left to struggle with really minimal resources. Because I did some research, and there's no government organizations that help families after something like this happens.

MACY GRAY: I don't think people are aware that three people die via the police on average every day. So, the 99.9% of those you don't hear about, and most 99.9% of those don't get any kind of settlement. Don't see a penny. You know, you have moms 10 years later still going to court fighting for justice.

It's heartbreaking. And I have kids, so it's definitely something you never get over.

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: It's time for us to pay attention, to put some action behind that awareness. Music is a universal language. And I know, especially the Black community, arts is how we survive and overcome. And you create this beautiful music.

So, how much does music help you to heal? And how much do you hope it helps your listeners to heal?

MACY GRAY: It definitely does a lot for me emotionally, mentally. Sometimes I'm at home and I just want to go to the studio. I think it makes a difference in everybody's day. I think entertainment affects how people feel.

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: Well, Macy, thank you so much for joining us today. I cannot wait to hear your new album.

MACY GRAY: I'll send it to you early.

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: Thank you again for joining us today, Macy.