Musician & activist SAMORA PINDERHUGHES recently announced Black Spring, his four song EP co-produced by Jack DeBoe and available April 24. The EP from the Juilliard-trained pianist/vocalist is inspired by the revolutionary energy of 1960’s songwriters, and looks to reflect the questions and anger that people are feeling during these times of uncertainty and chaos. The title Black Spring describes an energy of uprising: a time for action, a time for flourishing and moving forward with revolutionary spirit. Each of the four songs on the EP delves into a different aspect of what we’re dealing with right now in 2020, and the truths we have to speak up about.
Samora has increasingly sought to inspire solidarity among communities dealing with different oppressive circumstances, particularly around immigrant detention and mass incarceration – seeing the similarities both in lived experience and structurally within the carceral state. He is a member of Blackout for Human Rights, the arts & social justice collective founded by Ryan Coogler and Ava DuVernay, and works with additional organizations including Common’s nonprofitImagine Justice, Unbound Philanthropy & Art For Justice. Watch him discuss his activism and “Why artists are responsible for moving society forward” via PBS Newshour: https://to.pbs.org/38ErfZf.
Today, Pinderhughes shares the powerful short film for Black Spring’s lead single “Hold That Weight,” directed by Daniel Fermín Pfeffer. The song is about how to support each other and asks the question: “In times when people are struggling, what does it really look like to help carry their burdens?” The film delves into the work that goes into trying to re-acclimate to home life and society when released from prison: battling negative thoughts; trying to navigate a way forward; and battling a prison system that traumatizes those it incarcerates and then gives no thought to what happens after people are released.
The film is loosely based on the real lives of the main actors–Lucas Monroe, an amazing actor that has appeared in several of Daniel’s previous films, was recently released from incarceration; and Michael Barrett, a firefighter who works at the community center where much of the film was shot. The men grew up with Pfeffer in Ithaca, NY and the film was shot in the places where they live and work.
“So many conversations around prison reform revolve only around ‘innocence’ and that is a problem,” notes Samora. “That leaves so many people out who are incarcerated for things they did do, but still do not deserve to be caged and traumatized and treated inhumanely. We have to imagine new ways and new structures – we have to change our society from one that punishes to one that takes care.”
“We need to show people with family lives who are struggling and make mistakes and should be allowed to learn from those mistakes and grow, instead of being punished and traumatized forever,” adds Lucas. “The film is also about everything you were missing when you were incarcerated: the people around you that rally behind you, support you, make sure you feel love–and how important they are and how important that support is.”
Of the song, Samora adds “This song is dedicated to the health care workers, the grocery store workers, the delivery people, the artists – everyone providing us with what we need during these crazy times. I sincerely hope this song lifts you up in times of despair, and inspires you to continue to support yourself, your community, and all those in need around you. And know I’ll always be here to help hold your weight.”
Read more about Samora Pinderhughes below and look for much more from him in 2020, leading up to his headline Carnegie Hall show in May 2021.