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28 May 2021, 16:58
The US mezzo-soprano turns her unforgettable voice to the poignant aria, ‘They Still Want To Kill Us’, one year after the death of George Floyd.
The US mezzo-soprano performed Daniel Bernard Roumain’s evocative ‘They Still Want To Kill Us’ in a film premiered online on 26 May, marking poignantly the race struggle in America as epitomised by two events – the Tulsa Massacre and George Floyd’s death – which happened nearly 100 years apart.
The piece of music by DBR, heard in the short film above, is a commentary on society’s approach and struggle with issues of race, and America’s treatment of Black life over the past century and beyond.
The composer of the aria has given his work the subheading ‘the uncensored aria’ and described the events of 31 May 1921 in Tulsa, Oklahoma as a “a toxic mix of misinformation, bigotry, ignorance, and white rage” which “ignited a race war that left hundreds dead, a community destroyed, and a nation still struggling for its identity” in a Q&A at the end of the video premiere.
DBR discusses with ongoing incidences that continue to result in the deaths of Black people in the US, including Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, and says: “Violence against those who are ‘other’ in America is deeply rooted in our history, and we have a choice – we can be silent, or we can move mountains and create new spaces for our communities.”
The video accompanying Bridges’ performance was directed by Yoram Savion, and commissioned in partnership with Sozo Media by the Apollo Theater and Opera Philadelphia, among other arts and culture institutions.
J’nai Bridges is an American mezzo-soprano who has performed at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, Washington National Opera, and San Francisco Opera among other prestigious venues.