Inspiring songs, engaged texts and talented artists were all on the menu for thursday's We resist! concert at (le) Poisson Rouge in New York. First in what is to become a monthly series of concerts pairing jazz and social justice, this event was the perfect image of what's to come from this string of performances. On top of supporting Samora Pinderhughes’ The Transformation suite and the documentary Whose Streets, part of the proceeds went to Freedom Arts, a youth empowerment organization providing arts education, mentoring and academic tutoring throughout the Saint-Louis City.
I go to a lot of concerts, a lot, but this was probably one of the best show I’ve experienced. The passion and engagement from every artists who went on stage was inspiring to watch and truly made this an unforgettable night. It was very special to watch an entire crowd of people come together and stand up for social justice.
Using a looper and his silky smooth voice to create incredible melodies, Matthew Santos was the perfect way to open up the night. Accompanied by Chihsuan Yang on the violin, he took us on a journey and shared his beautiful words with us. He was a true discovery for me and I highly encourage everyone to go check him out because he is absolutely incredible.
The rest of the evening was hosted by Samora Pinderhughes, showcasing The Transformations Suite with multiple special guests. The Transformations Suite is a musical journey combining poetry, music and theatre which paints a great portrait of the current state of social inequality and injustice in the United States as well as across the world. Throughout the entire night, Samora was on the piano and invited guests to come and share their work with the crowd. Amongst the invited artists, Okieriete Onaodowan, Anthony Ramos, Jasmine Cephas-Jones as well as Samora’s sister Elena. Each and every one of these performances came together as one to empower the members of the audience and inspire them to be better.
We were also treated to a performance by Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs who played us new material from their upcoming album. Their energy really carried through the night and got the spectators excited. Diggs also played a song from his noise rap group Clipping. which was an absolute delight and got everyone pumped for the rest of the evening.
Towards the end of the evening, we were shown a couple of clips from the upcoming movie Whose Streets, a documentary about the Ferguson uprising. Powerful clips which were shown along with musical pieces and poetry. One particular performance by Okieriete Onaodowan, William Wells, Joshua Reynolds and Anthony Ramos brought fans to tears. The song, an ode to Freedom and the meaning of it, was incredibly powerful and made everyone in the room emotional.
All in all, this night was unforgettable and incredibly moving. Seeing everyone come together through their shared love for the arts was beautiful and inspiring. It reminded me just how much stronger we are when we stand together and how important it is to keep fighting and speak up for what we believe in.
The movie Whose Streets will be out in theatres this August, The Transformations Suite is available for purchase right now and the We Resist! concert series will host monthly events which can be found on (le) Poisson Rouge.