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Black Opera

My name is Emmanuel Henreid, and I’m a singer and a professional musician. I am raising money for "Livin' in the Light", a short film and musical EP. The film documents my experience of singing in Portland during quarantine and at protests as one of the only Black male professional opera singers in the Pacific Northwest working in modern/crossover genres.

COVID-19 canceled all of my singing events with Portland Opera and multiple other local opera companies, as well as all other bookings at events around town. All of our amphitheaters and venues are closed. Given that I live in a small space with roommates, I have nowhere to practice. My voice is an instrument. If I don't use it, I risk losing it. To be able to practice, I have resorted to singing in the streets. I also sing at Black Lives Matter and civil rights protests. In the last two months, I’ve been stopped by building security guards on numerous occasions and have had the cops called on me just for singing. Knowing that 1 in 1000 black men and boys in America can expect to die at the hands of police, I am quite literally risking my life to preserve my instrument and practice my art. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that African Americans account for 33 percent of COVID hospitalizations, largely because Black people have high rates of chronic health conditions—called comorbidities—that weaken the immune system and make them more vulnerable to the virus. But much less discussed is how food, class, and race have intersected in ways that perpetuate the health disparities and social inequities unfolding today. By losing access to income from events and ticket sales, I’ve encountered even greater risk — both physical and economic — in the face of the pandemic. 

The film will be directed by me and produced by non-profit queer creative studio Future Prairie, lead by Portland Parks and Recreation creative-in-residence Joni Renee Whitworth. Future Prairie is raising money through a variety of sources, including grants from foundations and larger non-profits, this campaign, individual donors, and virtual fundraising events. We're raising money for the filmed documentary, the EP of music, the music video, and the studio rent to help us through the making process. 

Livin' in the Light is a bold, timely message to creatives, urging them to keep making and sharing art during the pandemic and challenging institutional responses to this crisis. My film and music document the impact of COVID-19 on Black creatives. This work is an attempt to witness and index the joy, perseverance, and struggle of being a Black male artist in what is often called "the Whitest City in America" while honoring the timeless art form that is opera.


  • Julie Motschenbacher
    • $20 
    • 2 yrs
  • Kathleen Strohecker
    • $250 
    • 3 yrs
  • Anonymous
    • $60 
    • 3 yrs
  • Aaron Hall
    • $25 
    • 3 yrs
  • Cherie Meeboer
    • $50 
    • 3 yrs

Organizer and beneficiary

Emmanuel Henreid
Portland, OR
Joni Renee Whitworth

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