Soul artist Celisse graced our Facebook Live Stream last week with a 45-minute performance and discussion centered around songwriting and her upcoming album. Today, she releases a new video for “Freedom,” a song she wrote in 2016 about racial tensions, which has equal and pressing relevance today.
Videos by American Songwriter
“I wrote the song ‘Freedom’ immediately after Philando Castile and Alton Sterling both lost their lives within 24 hours in July of 2016” Celisse said. “Along with millions of people, I watched video footage of these unarmed black men losing their lives in the most horrific ways. The truth that these unjust deaths revealed about our country, including the systemic failings of our criminal just system, became my personal call-to-action.”
“Now, almost four years later, too little has been done and the story remains the same. With the horrific and unjust killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and Tony McDade weighing heavily on our hearts and minds, it is time to release ‘Freedom’ as a rallying cry and a call to action to stand up and fight for our freedom.”
The “Freedom” video begins with images of civil rights protests from the ’60s and the Martin Luther King message ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’ before Celisse sings “Look at the world we live in/Look at the trouble and pain.”
The video features over 100 volunteers from in and around New York City, who contributed an “I Can” statement as a part of the video’s photography project. Volunteers were asked to write down one simple thing they can do today to fight back against racism and positively impact the world around them. The video encourages a call to action on social media where individuals can share their own “I Can” statement using the hashtag #WEARETHEANSWER.
“Freedom” is written, produced and performed by Celisse. The video was directed and edited by Tyler Newhouse, with performance direction by Julia Mattison. It was executive produced by Hunter Arnold. The song was tracked and mixed by Tom Gardner at Rift Studios and mastered by Joe Lambert.
Make sure to watch until the end for personal comments from Celisse on how you can stay active and involved.
All proceeds from the song will go directly to “The Movement 4 Black Lives” and “Campaign Zero”. For more information on the song, video and other ways to help support Black Lives Matter and other organizations, visit: www.celissehenderson.com/freedom