A vision that started 4 years ago, a version of a song picked to be originally performed in front of 10,000 young Boy Scouts (to share meaningful messages through music, instead of “whatever it makes them dance”), now has been seen by hundreds of thousands if not millions on CBS News -The Power of August Special.
I wish I could just say “fantastic, we are on CBS”, but that is absolutely not the case. The song represented in the video performance I conducted and produced has an ENORMOUS/GIANT importance for the Afro-American community. I humbly understand the infinite things I’m not culturally prepared to be aware of in regard of the Black National Anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing“, as I said, for SO many people (and it should for the entire US) this song means the world, and we were simple messengers in this process. I do know without a single doubt that something very good, a vision, pushed me to pursue THIS particular song, putting together 40+ student musicians and going through the many “hiccups” that could have stopped the whole production many times, but we knew that the vision was meant to be brought to life. Why us? No idea.
I was so lucky to have shared this journey with Desmond Scaife Jr (lead singer and co-producer) who truly understood where my heart was while working together endlessly to make sure we’d do our best to keep the utmost respect for the song, its cultural meaning, and our place as artists in the world (considering the resources we had as busy students.)
Don’t wait for the next scandal the media presents you with, or for the NFL to decide to use it before their games to go educate yourself about one of the most important songs the US has ever had (but hey, we can even talk about this again in 4 years – what do I know.)
The beautiful arrangement by Lawrence “Larry” Watson (that I thank for having allowed us to use it), was first featured for Nelson Mandela in 1990 during his visit to Boston after he was released from prison.
There is still much to be done, but we have to start somewhere, I definitely learned that if you have a vision, no matter how “uncomfortable” it could be, you should pursue it, because 4 years later the world might need it. Imagine that when we did it, the underrepresented communities were of course already struggling, but the media was simply not talking about it as much as now, because the world was still in a phase of “blindness and sleepiness” which was working out great for some, not for us.

Original Arrangement by Lawrence “Larry” Watson: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7Rv68tjw58
Our “We are the Future Big Band” performance and credits: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qRhteE1fzc