Not long ago, we released our music video for “Frederick’s Song (Freedom)” based on the life and teachings of abolitionist and civil rights pioneer Frederick Douglass and couldn’t have been more excited. It is all about tolerance and fighting for the cultural, political, financial and social freedoms for everyone, but ironically, we were confronted with the very persecution we were fighting against. Questioning our heritage, we were called everything from “not black enough” to “whitewashed.”
It was a learning experience, to say the least. Yes two of us in SayReal are actually African-American, and we are all biracial – but we all do have light skin. To sing a song about freedom, Frederick Douglass, slavery…it was a trigger for some and understandably so. Do we have the “right” to speak about something we may or may not have experienced for ourselves? Even if we have, certainly not to the extent that other people of color in this country have had to endure. It almost felt like a test. Would we stand by the work and message we had so carefully crafted?
On the flip side the outpouring of love and support for us, our work, and the disdain for comments like the ones mentioned was truly overwhelming and gave us just what we needed to strengthen our resolve. In all truthfulness, the controversy helped us to have a deeper understanding of what it means to be free, and the responsibility that we as artists have to give voice to the voiceless as well as have compassion for all points of view. Even those that are not our own. We had incredible opportunity to spread our message even further; it is about uniting, not dividing – and giving each other the freedom to be who we are. In some were actually able to change the opinions of some people who were once preaching hateful comments, by staying in our truth while also listening and being open to finding common ground. We would love for you to watch, listen and share our song, and if you like it get a copy of our album Unarmed and Ready. Because as Frederick said, “I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong”.
Here’s to redefining the mainstream.
Love & Music,