Macy Gray on new music and her mission to help families impacted by police brutality: ‘My country gave me PTSD’

The last time Macy Gray released an album it was 2018, and in many ways, it was a different world — before the pandemic and the murder of George Floyd by police in 2020 activated people around the globe, and inspired Gray to make a new music.

The Reset, scheduled to be released this summer, will give the artist a chance to get people dancing again, while also spreading 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, because after all that I was traumatized,” adds Gray.

Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner, protesting with family members of victims killed by police. (Photo: Getty)
Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner, protesting with family members of victims killed by police. (Photo: Getty Images)

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, My Good provides emotional resources and financial support to families dealing with an impossible loss.

“There is nothing you can fix if you lose a son or a daughter or a relative, but we come in and try to make it a little bit easier,” says Gray. “Most of it is funeral costs, unfortunately. Mental health is our biggest request, in the aftermath. People say they need people to talk to.”

As of April 2022, police have killed 348 people in the US, according to Mapping Police Violence, Black people are three times more likely to be killed by police than white people.

“I don’t think people are aware that three people die via the police, on average, every day," because "99.9% of those you don’t hear about. And 99.9% of those don’t get any settlement. Most of them don’t see a penny,” says Gray. “We have moms, 10 years later, still fighting for justice. It’s heartbreaking and I have kids, so it's definitely something you never get over.”

Macy Gray performs the national anthem at the 2022 NBA All-Star Game. (Photo: Getty)
Macy Gray performs the National Anthem at the 2022 NBA All-Star Game. (Photo: Getty Images)

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.

As she continues to reset from the events of the last few years, Gray is reminded about the power of art and the role music can play in helping people to heal. "It definitely does a lot for me emotionally and 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. It affects how people feel."

—Video produced by Jacquie Cosgrove.