An Uncensored Aria performed and composed by Daniel Bernard Roumain
Featuring mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges and directed by multimedia artist Yoram Savion
Commemorating centennial of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre and marking one year since the murder of George Floyd
Premiering May 25, 8PM ET at SummerStageAnywhere.org
Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage Anywhere is proud to present the national premiere of the short film “They Still Want To Kill Us” on Tuesday, May 25 at 8PM ET/ 5PM PT. The aria by composer and activist Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR), performed by mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges and directed by filmmaker Yoram Savion, will mark the 100th anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. The presentation is presented in conjunction with a collective of arts organizations from around the country and speaks truth to what transpired in 1921 at the Tulsa Race Massacre, an atrocity all but deleted from history until recently. The work is being premiered to mark one year since the murder of George Floyd: a commentary on our progress this last century on the issue of race and America’s treatment of Black life. They Still Want to Kill Us will stream for free at SummerStageAnywhere.org until July 31.
The program will include the premiere of the piece by Savion, a discussion with DBR and Bridges, moderated by Jamilla Deria and a statement by Damario Solomon-Simmons of the Justice for Greenwood Foundation.
Learn more about the uncensored aria and project at www.theystillwanttokillus.com.
This work of social justice and global change is produced by Rika Iino and Ichun Yeh of Sozo Creative with support from Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa, OK, and is commissioned by the Apollo Theater, Opera Philadelphia, the Fine Arts Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage Anywhere, Joe’s Pub, Stanford Live, University Musical Society at the University of Michigan, Zoellner Arts Center at Lehigh University, The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi, Creative Alliance, Bill Bragin and Washington Performing Arts with support from National Sawdust and the Lotus Education and Arts Foundation, distributed by ActiveCultures, Esty Dinur, globalFEST, ¡Globalquerque! and HotHouse.
SummerStage Anywhere Executive Artistic Director Erika Elliott shares, “We are honored to continue SummerStage’s legacy as a presenter of through-provoking programming that uplifts BIPOC communities and makes visible art that is reflective of histories untold. At this moment of tremendous trauma and hope for change, work like Roumain’s is critical.”
“The quick response and nimbleness of how this consortium of presenters was formed and moved forward is a testament to the immediacy of this project,” continued Paula Abreu, Associate Director of Programming, SummerStage Anywhere.
“Daniel’s beautiful project was in need, and the nationwide response of all these organizations quickly coming together to make an even bigger version of it happen shows what can happen when people work together in this historical moment of racial reckoning in the USA,” states Jamilla Deria, Executive Director of the UMass Amherst Fine Arts Center. “Together, we are imagining what more we could all do because we have realized what’s at stake for everyone in society. We must lift each other up, and Daniel’s project is a perfect vehicle to demonstrate both the brutal reality and communal potential of American society.”
DBR shares, “What happened to American citizens on May 31, 1921 in Tulsa, Oklahoma was a massacre by white people perpetrated upon Black people. A toxic mix of misinformation, bigotry, ignorance, and white rage ignited a race war that left hundreds dead, a community destroyed, and a nation still struggling for its identity. It seems that some white people still want to kill us (Black people), and the murder of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd and so many others is evidence of this bloodlust sown deep within the American psyche. What are the words and methods of The New Racism? Each day we bear witness to it. 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.”
During the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, which occurred over 18 hours from May 31 to June 1, 1921, a white mob attacked residents, homes, businesses, and places of worship in the predominantly Black Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa, Oklahoma. This thriving business district and surrounding residential area, referred to as “Black Wall Street,” was burned to the ground. The tragedy remains one of the worst incidents of racial violence in U.S. history, and, for a period, remained one of the least known. Despite the fact hundreds of people were killed and thousands more left homeless, news reports were largely suppressed.
They Still Want to Kill Us was filmed in May 2021 in New York City’s Sultan Room and Central Park’s historic Seneca Village site. A 19th-century settlement mostly populated by the largest number of African American landowners in New York before the Civil War, the site was torn down to help make way for Central Park. 225 residents (two-thirds Black and one-third Irish) lost 50 homes, three churches, and a school of African American children. Through archival image references and evocative visual narrative, we connect the past and the present, highlighting a pattern of hidden and historically ignored state violence and the forcible displacement of African American landowning communities across the nation.
The aria is a part of a larger pocket opera of the same name currently being developed by DBR and slated to premiere in the 21-22 season.
DBR’s acclaimed work as a composer, performer, educator, and activist spans more than two decades, and he has been commissioned by venerable artists and institutions worldwide. “About as omnivorous as a contemporary artist gets” (New York Times), DBR is perhaps the only composer whose collaborations span Philip Glass, Bill T. Jones, Savion Glover, and Lady Gaga. He most recently scored the film Ailey (d. Jamila Wignot), which premiered at Sundance Film Festival in 2021.
American mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges, known for her “rich, dark, exciting sound” (Opera News) is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after talents of her generation, gracing the world’s top stages in repertoire ranging from traditional favorites to world premieres to spirituals and standards.
Yoram Savion is a filmmaker, writer, and multimedia artist. His pan-genre, award-winning onscreen work spans movement-based documentation, narrative, documentary for youth- and humanitarian-centric initiatives, and creative work for multinational brands. The innovative filming techniques developed in the production studio he co-founded has drawn a strong global following, with more than a half billion views online.
Sozo Creative believes in the role of artists as thought partners and catalysts for innovation. With art and technology, social impact and immersive arts as their three core creative tracks, Sozo’s global portfolio spans the spectrum of film, digital content, educational residencies, live performances, and site-reactive activations. Founded and led by women, Sozo’s team of world class artists and producers partner with brands, arts institutions, creative agencies and civic entities, building artistic and cultural bridges through bold, perspective-changing projects, to invoke a vibrant, trusting, and compassionate society. For more information, visit sozoartists.com.
As an essential part of the project, we refer the public to support the Justice for Greenwood Foundation (https://www.justiceforgreenwood.org/), a network of activists, attorneys, volunteers, experts, and descendants of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre seeking accountability, financial compensation, publication and greater truth-telling around the facts and legacy of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.
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Capital One is the title sponsor of Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage Anywhere. Bloomberg Philanthropies is a Supporting Sponsor.
Generous private support is provided by The Thompson Family Foundation, Howard Gilman Foundation, Mertz Gilmore Foundation, and The Shubert Organization. SummerStage is also supported, in part, by public funds from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, the NYS Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the NYS Legislature, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the NYC Council under the leadership of Speaker Corey Johnson including Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel, Council Member Robert Cornegy, Council Member Mark Levine, Council Member Bill Perkins, Council Member Carlina Rivera, Council Member Helen Rosenthal, and Council Member Rafael Salamanca. Additional support is generously provided by our dedicated SummerStage Members.
In all of its programming and activities, City Parks Foundation partners with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation to activate neighborhood parks.
About City Parks Foundation
At City Parks Foundation, we are dedicated to invigorating and transforming parks into dynamic, vibrant centers of urban life through sports, arts, community building and education programs for all New Yorkers. Our programs — located in more than 400 parks, recreation centers and public schools across New York City –reach 300,000 people each year. Our ethos is simple: thriving parks mean thriving communities.
Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage is New York’s largest free outdoor performing arts festival. SummerStage annually presents approximately 100 performances in 15-18 parks throughout the five boroughs. With performances ranging from American pop, Latin, world music, dance, and theater, SummerStage fills a vital niche in New York City’s summer arts festival landscape. Since its inception 35 years ago, more than six million people from New York City and around the world have enjoyed SummerStage. In 2020, Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage Anywhere was launched in response to the global pandemic, presenting 80 free digital performances, spanning all genres, available to all around the world. Capital One is the Title Sponsor of SummerStage. For more information, visitwww.SummerStage.org.
About Capital One
Capital One Financial Corporation (www.capitalone.com) is a financial holding company whose subsidiaries, which include Capital One, N.A., and Capital One Bank (USA), N.A., had $249.8 billion in deposits and $372.5 billion in total assets as of December 31, 2018. Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, Capital One offers a broad spectrum of financial products and services to consumers, small businesses and commercial clients through a variety of channels. Capital One, N.A. has branches located primarily in New York, Louisiana, Texas, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey and the District of Columbia. A Fortune 500 company, Capital One trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “COF” and is included in the S&P 100 index. Visit the Capital One newsroom for more Capital One news.