My name is Pamela Lewis and I am a teacher at The Urban Assembly School For the Performing Arts in Harlem, NY. In addition to their academic classes, our students take classes in their chosen major: vocal, dance or theater, daily. I must say, when I first began teaching here, I was blown away at the level of talent in the building! I thought this talent should be shared on a big scale. Everyone should know how amazing my students are! But what topic was important enough to share with the world?
Then Mike Brown was killed. And Eric Garner, Akai Gurley, Tamir Rice and officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, and so on and so on...It brought me back to Trayvon Martin, and so many others before him, and the clear divide on the issue that seemed only to be getting wider in recent years. I asked some students if they would like to record a song in tribute to these men who have died senselessly, to raise awareness of a problem that continues to prevail in communities such as ours. They jumped at the opportunity to create something that sends a message but in an artistic, and thought-provoking way.
We recorded a song that is extremely moving. But, before we release this song on social media, we need to go back into the studio, make some alterations, and give it "broadcast quality," meaning a talented engineer would mix and master the original. After the song is complete, we plan on making a music video. As with the mixing and mastering, the budget for a quality music video filmed by a professional video director is a costly feat! After speaking with several studio engineers and video directors, I average that the budget for all this will be about $2500, due to lighting and sound rentals, studio time, van rentals to transport equipment, editing etc.--all of which our school budget cannot afford.
We would truly appreciate as much help as we can get to pull this off. I know once it is complete, not only will it provide my talented students with an experience of a lifetime, their artistry also has the potential to bring those divided on the issue closer together. The more we shine light on this issue, the closer we move toward change. This is our students' way of taking a stand that appeals to their generation, many who are targeted every day for the color of their skin and the clothes on their backs and some who will grow up hating all law enforcement if something does not change. Let us not forget that this generation also includes our future police officers, lawyers, judges, EMTs, jurors, policy makers and anyone who has the lives of ALL Americans in their hands. Through my students' artistry, we hope to touch the hearts of all who watch. After all, music IS universal. #blacklivesmatter #alllivesmatter #wecan'tbreathe
- Reginald Maynor
- neil lewis
- Lucretia Jones
- marzetta harris
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