June 29, 2020

Theatre alumna Elisabeth Christie organized the event, “Black Artists for Black Lives,” which took place Sunday, June 28 at Orlando City Hall. Programming featured fellow Theatre alumnus Arius West and incoming director of choral activities Jeffery Redding.

Standing on the steps of City Hall on Sunday, a trio of female singers performed “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the hymn commonly known as the “Black national anthem” in front of about 100 people gathered to support Black people in the arts and entertainment industry.

Music played an integral part of the rally “Black Artists for Black Lives,” organized by Central Florida performers Elisabeth Christie and Danielle Harris, who blended their voices for the anthem and encouraged demonstrators to “come out and see the beauty of Orlando’s black arts community.”

Christie put together a Spotify playlist for the event featuring songs by Beyoncé, Stevie Wonder and Kendrick Lamar, whose song “Alright” has become a civil rights anthem in heavy rotation at protests nationwide.

“It means a lot to have every art form coming together today to march in solidarity to support Black arts because Black arts are honestly the basis for a lot of art,” Christie said.

Jeffery Redding, director of choral activities at UCF, encouraged the crowd to “take your anger and turn it into love” because the focus tends to be on their anger and not what they’re angry about.

“You must learn to love in the midst of rejection,” Redding said. “This is how you make change. Yes, you rally, you march but you also vote.”

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More coverage of the event includes: