While much has been done over the past few weeks to help bring awareness to the Black Lives Matter movement, much more needs to happen to ensure we put an end to systemic racism and police brutality.
We’ve seen people across the world come together in solidarity to support Black Lives Matter. Through the signing of petitions, the protests denouncing police brutality and the racism that is rampant in both law enforcement and society as a whole, and the online and offline activism that has come to fill our timelines, many are standing up against the inequality Black people face. Some are even using their talents to bring a voice to the cause, and one such group to do so are those within the musical theatre industry.
In a video uploaded to Sophia Moore‘s YouTube channel, many of the UK’s brightest and most talented young musical theatre stars came together to present a united front in support of Black Lives Matter. Through song and dance, they are continuing to spread the message behind the movement and ensuring the names of those who were killed at the hands of those charged with protecting them stay in the public eye.
The video kicks off with the group performing Found/Tonight, which “has a real sense of community and coming together to support those in need and fight for the change that is so necessary right now”. Throughout the rendition, each participant holds up a paper with the name of an individual who lost their lives as a result of police brutality and systemic racism within society, including George Floyd and Trayvon Martin.
It then moves on to discuss the changes that need to occur in order for there to be full equality within society. Those within the video recognise their white privilege and share that more needs to be done by those who have a platform to do so. “Being not racist is not enough. We have to be anti-racist.”
Seize the Day, from the musical Newsies, is sung to help remind those watching that we can no longer wait for change to occur by itself. We need to propel the movement forward and demand what should have happened long before the death of George Floyd sparked recent protests. “You can’t blame ignorance, justified by feeling uncomfortable, when Black people have been made to feel uncomfortable their entire lives,” one participant says, discussing how overall society is happy to take from Black culture, but turns a blind eye to basic human rights for all.
“We have a responsibility to educate ourselves and end this hatred. The only wrong thing to say is nothing,” the video preaches toward the end of the Seize the Day performance, before moving into a rendition of Sara Bareilles’ single, Brave, to inspire viewers to be brave and have those difficult conversations about racism and discrimination with those in their lives.
Within a few hours and we hit over £700 😭 so proud of everyone (and Sophie icon does organising) and thank you to everyone retweeting. I love theatre and W.E. Twitter 💗 https://t.co/mIIO3GpgVZ
— Kendal (@KendalWithOneL) June 17, 2020
Along with raising awareness, the video also acts as a fundraiser for Black Lives Matter charities and organisations. Through JustGiving, the group is looking to raise £1,000, which will be split between the following:
- Black Visions Collection, which aims “to center our work in healing and transformative justice principles, intentionally develop our organization’s core ‘DNA’ to ensure sustainability, and develop Minnesota’s emerging Black leadership to lead powerful campaigns”. Its goal is to create the conditions needed for sustained long-term “success and transformation”.
- Campaign Zero, which calls upon “local, state and federal lawmakers” within the United States to put an immediate end to violence through the adoption of “data-driven solutions” that would hold police accountable for their actions.
- Black Minds Matter, which strives to help connect Black people with therapists and other mental health aid, through the covering of costs and the offering of support.
- Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, which helps to “inspire and enable” young people between the ages of 13 and 30 to succeed in their careers, while also influencing others “to create a fairer society in which everyone, regardless of their background, can flourish”.
Those wishing to learn what they can do to help support the Black Lives Matter movement can do so via this resource.