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Jazz singer Melody Gardot honours Emmett Till in new song

TRAGIC DEATH: Emmett Till will brutally murdered at the age of 14 for flirting with a white woman in the 50s

US JAZZ singer Melody Gardot has written a new song as a tribute to Emmett Till - the young teenager who was brutally murdered in the 1950s for flirting with a white woman.

Gardot and the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation have also created a powerful video for the jazz and blues singer's track, Preacherman, which features on her 'socially conscious" new album Currency Of Man.

The Preacherman video was created by Gardot as a poetic tribute to Emmett’s story and she hopes to help raise awareness for the foundation, which works with young children in the US educating them about racism.

Emmett was a 14-year-old black teenager in 1950’s America, whose racially motivated murder marked a landmark moment in the Civil Rights movement.

Emmett’s family were heavily involved in the Preacherman project. The family learned that Gardot planned to make a video to honour Emmett, when his cousin Dr Edelia Carthan, also known as Dr Jay, saw an advert online looking for extras to take part in the video. Dr Jay reached out to Gardot, and featured as an actor in the video, as well as working closely with the performer on the project as a whole.

Together they created the hard-hitting video which was shot on location in Mississippi.


JAZZ SINGER: Melody Gardot

Gardot said: "The profound nature of our existence is that we are able at any moment to connect to anyone, anywhere.

"History is there to remind us of how far we've come, and every day our journey is to continue with that progress of becoming more wise, more compassionate and more considerate human beings."

She added: "Remembering Emmett Till through song is a way to remind people that there is no need to continue with senseless crimes. Race and racism do no go hand in hand. We are only one race: human."

Considered a flash point in the chain of events that sparked the civil rights movement, Emmett Till’s murder showed many the full brutality of racial prejudice in the United States, particularly due to the heroic approach of his mother, who made the extremely brave decision to have an open coffin at Emmett's funeral, so as not to mask the full brutality of the crime.

The Emmett Till foundation said: “Melody Gardot’s tribute to the legacy of Emmett Till via the video, Preacherman and song, helps to take each of us on an important emotional journey back in history.

"Preacherman, sadly also raises our consciousness, as we witness the haunting tragedy of 14-year-old Emmett Till’s death on August 28, 1955.

The powerful gospel choir backing on the track are formed from Gardot's fans who ‘auditioned’ on Facebook by submitting their vocal recordings.

Gardot then worked with a sound engineer to include hundreds of fan vocal takes on the final recording.

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