Beyonce has used a holiday marking the end of slavery to drop a surprise new song entitled Black Parade.
The Queen of Pop released the track on Juneteenth, on Friday, which celebrates the official end of slavery in the United States in 1865.
Just before dropping the track Beyonce announced a project of the same name which provides an online directory of black-owned businesses ranging from fashion and art to food and drink.
On her website, she wrote: “Happy Juneteenth Weekend! I hope we continue to share joy and celebrate each other, even in the midst of struggle.
“Please continue to remember our beauty, strength and power.
“BLACK PARADE celebrates you, your voice and your joy and will benefit Black-owned small businesses.
“Being Black is your activism. Black excellence is a form of protest. Black joy is your right.”
Beyonce, from Houston, Texas, then released the song, co-written with her husband Jay Z, which is nearly five minutes long and is about black pride and calls for reparations for slavery.
She sings: “I’m going back to the South, I’m going back where my roots ain’t watered down.
“I can’t forget my history is her-story, yeah. We black, baby, that’s the reason why they always mad.”
Later in the song, she adds: “Need peace and reparations for my people.”
In the bridge, she sings: “We got rhythm, we got pride, we birth kings, we birth tribes.”
The new track comes less than a month after African-American man George Floyd was killed after a white police officer knelt on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds, prompting worldwide anti-racism protests.
Beyonce, one of the world’s biggest and most influential artists, has been vocal throughout the protests, and also the coronavirus crisis.
In April, as more and more Americans died of the virus, she warned African-Americans were being disproportionately affected.
She demanded “real justice” for Mr Floyd and her BeyGood foundation donated to the coronavirus relief effort.
The singer also joined the call for charges against officers involved in the killing of Breonna Taylor, who was shot dead in March by officers who burst into her Kentucky home.
On her website, under the new Black Parade project, she published a letter to the attorney general of Texas, Daniel Cameron, telling him he has to change the pattern of a black person being killed by police, followed by inaction and delays in the investigation.
Black Parade is Beyonce’s first new solo music since she contributed to The Lion King companion album last year.
In April, she and rapper Megan Thee Stallion released a remix of the latter’s viral hit Savage.