Most Eurovision fans know that Jeangu Macrooy‘s song “Gold” featured in a trailer for Game of Thrones. But what’s less well-known is that the song is a reminder of the Netherlands’ long history with slavery.

For more than 200 hundred years, men and women were bought, sold and enslaved on plantations in Suriname and the Dutch Antilles for their owners’ profit. As Jeangu sings: “Sisters and brothers and mothers and fathers, unholy sacrifices for coffee and sugar.” Amsterdam grew wealthy from their toil, building up the many mansions along the city’s canals.

In the new video, Jeangu — born in Suriname, but now the face of the Netherlands at Eurovision 2021 — sings inside one of those lavish buildings. He’s done so to mark Keti Koti. The day, whose name translate from Sranantongo roughly as “the chain is broken”, takes place on July 1 — the date when slavery was abolished in Suriname and the Dutch Antilles in 1863.

Jeangu Macrooy marks Keti Koti with new performance of “Gold”

Jeangu described the importance of his performance and the date on Instagram.

“Every year, on Keti Koti, we celebrate that the Netherlands abolished slavery in Suriname and the Antilles on July 1st, 1863, and commemorate those who suffered in slavery. Slavery is an ineradicable part of the shared history between the Netherlands and its former colonies. Yet every year when I attend the commemoration and celebration, I realize that the vast majority of Dutch people do not yet know what Keti Koti is — something I want to change.”

“GOLD pays tribute to the enslaved, my ancestors, who for centuries were oppressed, mistreated and exploited for the wealth in this country. GOLD is a call to everyone: every year ‪on July 1st‬, let’s all take a moment to reflect on our past. Let’s strive towards a society in which everyone feels seen and heard. Let’s fight ignorance and make way for empathy, reconciliation and fraternization.”

Gold lyrics — Jeangu Macrooy

Gold, gold
Everywhere I go I see gold
Gold, gold
Everywhere I go I see gold
I was a child of ignorance
But I know what I know now
I opened my eyes to what I’ve seen before
To what I knew before
‘Cause it was written
In the black clay soil
With the blood of our
Sisters and brothers and mothers and fathers
Unholy sacrifices for coffee and sugar
And…
Gold, gold
Everywhere I go I see gold
(Gold gold everywhere I go I see)
Gold, gold
Everywhere I go I see gold
(Gold)
Look at these children of ignorance
They don’t know
(Know)
Wasn’t told
(Told)
Blinded by a fox in a sugarcoat
‘Cause the past was rewritten
Telling stories
Of heros and glory
In a new world
Singing songs about the age of coffee…
Sugar
And gold gold
Everywhere I go I see gold
(Gold gold everywhere I go I see)
Gold gold
Everywhere I go I see gold
(Gold)
We hold our dreams in our minds
The future is in our hands
But it will take some time to reach the promised land
We hold our dreams in our minds
The future is in our hands
But it will take some time to reach the promised land
Told
(What we know)
Know
(Led by the light of what is to come)
(We will write our own future)
(In gold)

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Veta
Veta
2 months ago

Jeangu is such a precious artist and performer. Everytime he performs live, he delivers so much emotion. Love everything he does.

Una
Una
2 months ago

OMG I have so much to say about this but I won’t.

Sandrine
Sandrine
2 months ago

Powerful message in Jeangu Macrooy’s performance of Gold.

Sandrine
Sandrine
2 months ago

Powerful song with a message.