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THEY STILL WANT TO KILL US

An Uncensored Aria performed and composed by Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR)
Featuring mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges and directed by Yoram Savion

August 2, 2021: Thanks for your interest in Daniel Bernard Roumain’s They Still Want to Kill Us. Our authorized streaming period for this video has now concluded. For more about this “aria film” and its online premiere by a coalition of arts presenters, including Washington Performing Arts, please visit the project’s website.

Washington Performing Arts is proud to partner with a nationwide consortium of other arts presenters in the online premiere of They Still Want to Kill Us, an aria written by acclaimed American composer and activist Daniel Bernard Roumain (a.k.a. DBR) and sung by mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges—both of whom are ongoing collaborators of Washington Performing Arts. The work commemorates the 100th anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. The date of the premiere also marks one year since the murder of George Floyd.

In the composer’s words: “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.”

“We are proud to be part of this national consortium of distinguished presenters supporting Daniel Bernard Roumain’s They Still Want To Kill Us,” said Washington Performing Arts President and CEO Jenny Bilfield. “Art and artists can illuminate the greatest connections between us and, at the same time, provide bracing encounters with history and their lived experience that challenge us to acknowledge what is difficult to fathom, and learn, grow, and heal from it. DBR and J’Nai Bridges are artists we deeply admire and respect, and we look forward to continuing our collaboration with them both to bring accountability and visibility to areas of our field where power and racism have gone unchecked.”

Daniel Bernard Roumain’s connection to Washington Performing Arts (Society) dates back to 2003, when he made his Kennedy Center debut in a chamber music performance presented on our strings series. The collaboration continues this spring: DBR has composed six new compositions to be performed by young artists in this year’s 50th Annual Joseph and Goldie Feder Memorial String Competition. Each of DBR’s works for the competition is named for and dedicated to a victim of a hate crime or act of violence, including Brayla Stone, George Floyd, and Xiao Zhen Xie.

 

About the Artists

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 humanitariancentric 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.

 

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