It is only right that we close out Black History Month strong with this moving video from NPR of renowned opera singer Lawrence Brownlee singing his heart out in a crypt deep within the historic Church of the Intercession. Inspired and moved by the Black Lives Matter movement, Brownlee revives the old spiritual “There’s a Man Going ‘Round Taking Names” for the 21st Century. The dramatic setting paired with Brownlee’s stirring singing accompanied by jazz pianist Jason Moran make a powerful statement that the struggle for equal rights and justice still continues.
“Jason and I chose this song because we felt it accurately captures a growing sentiment that’s in society today,” Brownlee says. “So many senseless deaths of young African-American men.”
“I know that the ashes of the parishioners of this church are here in this crypt,” Brownlee explains. “You can feel the weight of death, you can feel the sting. It adequately captures the atmosphere, the somber mood that we are trying to capture with this song.”