As a collective, we seek to create space for marginalized people to gain strength, share their experiences, and heal. As a queer, black child from Texas whose parents met in a Motown band, I grew up respecting the authority figures of Aretha Franklin and James Baldwin. My music tells the stories of my own growing up, the beautiful moments and the moments that are beautiful because they were so painful.
Through “Ride On,” I draw on the American story song, as written by Johnny Cash and Vicki Lawrence, and reframe that tradition around survival. The months I was working on this song, four of my friends died. In the past, when friends have died, I died too, in a way. I became so depressed that I was immobile. By creating “Ride On,” I instead voiced a battle cry for endurance: a manifesto of personal preservation. For me (and for you as well, I hope), the effect of “Ride On” is invigorating, inspiring, and restorative.
— April Kae of Imanigold
This video was taken on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in Manhattan. The performance was given in recognition of Earth Day. And this particular song, Blackbird written by Paul McCartney, which followed a reading of not an elegy for Mike Brown, was dedicated to victims of police brutality.