Macklemore Gaza anthem ‘Hind’s Hall’ climbs US music charts

Macklemore's first live performance of Hind’s Hall in Wellington, New Zealand on May 8, 2024. Screenshot from the video Macklemore – Hind’s Hall (First Live Performance) – Wellington, NZ 8/5/24 by niceguyollie. Fair use.

This article is based on a story that  published in the New Arab on May 11, 2024 and a follow up story published on May 30, 2024. An edited version is republished on Global Voices as part of a content partnership agreement. 

Grammy winning rapper Macklemore's latest song demonstrates his unwavering support for Palestine and students across the United States protesting against Israel's war on Gaza.

In his song titled “Hind's Hall,” Macklemore admonishes the US government, telling President Joe Biden “blood is on your hands,” and declaring that he will not vote for him in the upcoming November election.

Macklemore, best known for 2010s hits such as 2012's “Thrift Shop and “Can't Hold Us,” has previously released socially aware music, supporting LGBTQ+ rights while also criticizing societal ills, including poverty and consumerism.

His latest track strongly reiterates his support for Palestinian rights since the start of the conflict on October 7, 2023.

The New Arab looks at the significance behind the title of Macklemore's anthem for Gaza.

The meaning behind ‘Hind's Hall’

The song is named after the building at Columbia University that students recently occupied and renamed after Hind Rajab, a six-year-old Palestinian girl killed in Gaza.

Dozens of protesters took over Hamilton Hall on April 30 within Columbia's campus, barricading entrances and hanging a Free Palestine banner from a window as administrators warned that they would face expulsion for doing so.

Protesters insisted they would remain at the hall until the university agreed to three demands: divestment from Israel and companies supporting the war in Gaza, financial transparency and amnesty for protesters.

Hours later, New York City police carrying riot shields stormed the building and cleared dozens of people from it, sweeping the encampment on the campus as well.

The action from city police came at the request of the university, according to a police statement.

The police response is referenced in the song, with Macklemore rapping:

If students in tents posted on the lawn / Occupying the quad is really against the law / And a reason to call in the police and their squad / Where does genocide land in your definition, huh?

University students have been mobilizing for weeks on campuses across the world over Israel's deadly offensive and its backing by the US, with police forcibly clearing protest camps in a manner similar to what occurred at Columbia, with 2,000 people arrested across the US.

Columbia students are credited for being the driving force behind protests on college campuses across the country and worldwide.

What happened to little Hind?

Hind Rajab, honored by Columbia's student activists who renamed the occupied university building after her, was killed by Israeli forces in January.

Hind Rajab was a six-year-old  Palestinian girl who was executed by the Israel Occupation Forces (IOF), after being the sole survivor of Israeli tank fire on the vehicle in which she had fled with six relatives. Screenshot from a video by Democracy Now titled: “Hind Rajab: Israel Kills Medics Trying to Save Dying 6-Year-Old Girl in Gaza”. Fair use.

Hind and five of her relatives were ambushed by Israeli shelling in a car in Gaza City’s Tal al-Hawa neighborhood, killing her aunt, uncle, and four cousins, according to reports. Injured and trapped in the car with her dead relatives, Hind made a distress call to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) telling them that she was scared and begged them to rescue her. Twelve days later, Hind and her family members were found dead in the vehicle.

The PRCS said Youssef Zaino and Ahmed Al-Madhoun, the two paramedics dispatched to rescue Hind, were also killed by Israel, after their ambulance was targeted during their rescue mission.

Following a comprehensive investigation, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor later concluded that Hind and her relatives were killed in a “planned execution carried out by the Israeli army … in broad daylight.”

According to Euro-Med’s report in February, Hind, alongside her uncle, aunt and three of her cousins, were killed by gunfire and shrapnel from tank shells while fleeing the neighborhood, which Israel had instructed them to do.

Hind's story has become symbolic of Israel’s brutal war on Gaza, where entire families have been massacred without any sign of Tel Aviv reducing civilian casualties.

’Hind’s Hall’ climbs US music charts

Macklemore's “Hind’s Hall” continues to achieve popularity on streaming services, ranking highly on various music charts in the US.  

According to Billboard Magazine, “Hind’s Hall” has featured highly on charts such as the Rap Digital Song Sales Charts, where it appeared at No.2.  Meanwhile, on the all-genre Digital Song Sales Charts, “Hind’s Hall” also landed in the top 10, peaking at No.7. 

Some music analysts say that the tune could have nearly been cemented as the No.1 bestselling rap song in the country. However, in the Billboard 200 charts, “Hind’s Hall” has only reached No.184, but it continues to find success outside the US. 

In the UK’s Indie charts, “Hind’s Hall” landed at No.8, No. 51 in UK Singles, as well as no.18 in the Australia Hip Hop/R&B.  

Macklemore said that the money made from his latest release will go toward helping to raise funds for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). 

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