I am a pianist, singer, songwriter, and researcher. I believe in the transformative and creative power of empathy and compassion.
By empathy, I mean cultivating a cognitive and emotional capacity to understand the ways non-humans and humans other than myself are alive in this world. I mean accepting when it is impossible to fully understand other ways of being alive. I mean avoiding bringing intentional harm to myself and to others. I mean committing to a courageous humility through which I might repair harm that in my fallibility I will inevitably cause. I mean accepting when it is impossible to fully reconcile and repair.
By compassion, I mean a patient self-honesty that embraces fallibility while striving for consistency. I mean a self-honesty that keeps me honest with other people.
As they help define the unfolding and multifarious contours of my relations with other humans and non-humans, empathy and compassion animate my creative and scholarly pursuits. By centering the creative work of African and African-American artists, my 2016 collaborative project a black pierrot offered more complex representations of African descendants than I had previously encountered in recital halls. My scholarship seeks similar nuance in its explorations of the ways sexual minorities in Jamaica might form and negotiate their identities through consuming popular music. Beyond representation, I am thinking through sexual rights and political subjectivity in Jamaica as embodied concepts. I am continuing to evolve a practice of empathetic and compassionate music research.
I believe music can deepen and transcend the meaning of words, and so I continue to think about how musical practices — developed with and through empathy and compassion — can help make my communities more loving, more equitable, more ethical. I make music and conversation in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.