Juneteenth is the opportunity for black America to experience a revival and this is why the artist Troy Antoine is hosting a gospel concert focused on bringing spiritual healing through music in celebration of this year’s holiday.
The Louisville native grew up in the South celebrating the vacations that many Americans are just starting to embrace. But after a year of intense emotion and dealing with the death of black lives at the hands of police officers, Anthony sought to create hymns for others seeking to overcome the trauma that resulted.
“Very strong revivals have been made in black communities forever, with the aim of: wait, you have to register, come back to ourselves to remind ourselves why we are here as we are dedicated to it. Let us ask ourselves these questions. Give back our lives, ”said Anthony.
Anthony has composed 13 songs which will be performed on Juneteenth at The Shed in New York, which is a cultural center in Hudson Yards that aims to “build a common understanding of our rapidly changing world and a more equitable society”.
Every song in Anthony’s performance was written with the aim of facilitating a collective who “speaks[s] spells in the air, so that we understand in the moment.
For generations, black communities in the United States have used music as an outlet, therapy, and avenue to transcend barriers to access. It is fitting that Anthony chose music as an art form to celebrate this June 15th, but also to recognize the pain the community has gone through over the past year.
One song in particular, called Say Her Name, is based on breonna taylorthe death of took place minutes from Anthony’s house.
“I want to breathe freely, I want to run, I want to be able to do these things and I want my body to be considered holy,” Anthony chanted as he reflected on the song’s lyrics.
From calls for police reform and deaths from COVID-19 to the struggle to preserve voting rights, the black community is currently grappling with multiple fronts.
Anthony’s song selections target these pressures on the black community and emphasize music as a source of liberation.
“I cannot get rid of the fact that Breonna Taylor was murdered by state police. And there is nothing I can do to eradicate it. This pain really exists, ”explained Anthony.
“So what I’m going to do is admit it and I’ll try to show you how I’m doing.” And then I’m going to ask you to engage in a ritual that can help you treat if you haven’t already.
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