During these incredibly heartbreaking times, it’s often easy to forget one of the most basic human traits and instincts...fight or flight. We’ve seen countless images, video footage, and live coverage of death especially this year in 2020—whether from the COVID-19 pandemic, to the deaths of innocent black and brown people senselessly murdered in broad daylight for society to watch. To say it has been exhausting would be the greatest understatement.. to say that is has been depressing would be an even greater understatement. Together we march in the streets, tear up the streets, weep in the streets, run in the streets… Justice for black and brown people has been nothing but overdue, and unfortunately only visible at this particular intersection of so many lives. What’s perhaps most unsettling, is that the collective unification and realization that “BLACK LIVES MATTER” has been at the toll of thousands, millions of black lives having been lost. Now more than ever, white folk are grappling with the very essence of what it means to be white. What does privilege look like? What does being a beneficiary of white supremacy mean? What does it mean to be an ally, a true ally to those who fight the good fight every day for simply being a political statement due to the color of their skin?” If there is certainly one thing that is clear, it’s that being a person of color in this country.. in the world.. is a pre-existing condition. BUT! This is why we fight the good fight. As an artist of color myself, I constantly challenge myself to continually make stories that were never heard before, possible. To tell the story of my ancestors.. my great grandparents, grandparents, parents, siblings, cousins… to tell the story of my people but also the way in which my people preserved and made it possible—that much better, for me and my generation.
While many of the recent events have been depressing to say the least, I can certainly say that I have hope. I have much optimism in seeing this country come to terms with centuries upon centuries of trauma that were buried far and deep beneath the ground. I have optimism that the words and actions of the likes of Andrew Young, Jesse Hill, Ralph Abernathy, MLK Jr., John F. Kennedy, Barack Obama, Shirley Chisholm, Nelson Mandela, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison and so many more… are continually shared, honored, and remembered. My message to all of my fellow citizens, artists, and people of the world is to continue fighting the good fighting. Continue protesting, whether in the streets, with your art, in your board rooms, ballot boxes, offices, theatres… continue remembering what those before you fought for, and honor it to the fullest degree.
Now more than ever, I implore people to make a TRUE bridge between alliance and intersectionality. Fight for the rights of LGBTQ+, women of color, people with disabilities, people who need YOU to join them in alliance to fight the good fight. It’s a long road, a painful one..., but also we are taking strides.. there is a future, a bright future ahead, when we come together like we are doing today, as ironic as it may seem during a global pandemic… we come together to recognize that we FIGHT WITH WORDS. FIGHT WITH FIRE. FIGHT WITH ACTION… FIGHT NOW. –Khari Joyner
Khari Joyner is a cello musician. He has received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from The Juilliard School, with research into mathematics and music. He has performed for several distinguished personalities, a few to mention - President Obama, President Clinton, Harry Belafonte, Maya Angelou. At the same time, Khari is very active in the New York City and Atlanta metro area, participating in events that bring together people who want their voices to be heard, and who deserve to be treated equal.