Wichita music project aims to end racial stereotypes of Black males

Published: Aug. 11, 2020 at 7:17 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Some Wichita musicians are working to end cultural stereotypes through music. Organizers of “The Breathe Project” said they hope a new music video will help bring about change for African American men in America.

“The song starts with, ‘Yesterday, I was looking for something on TV. I turned to the news and saw someone who looked like me. He was minding his own. He wasn’t doing nothing wrong. Had no intention of never again returning home,’” said Kevin Harrison recalling words he wrote in “Breathe.”

Harrison said the murder of George Floyd and other Black men killed by police inspired him to start “The Breathe Project.”

“We should be policed the same way that other people are policed,” Harrison said.

African American males ages ten to 73 participated in video which was shot at the historic Dunbar Theater and the Christian Faith Center. Those involved said they just want to break the stereotypes that some people have of African American males.

“Once you hear the lyrics and start hearing the hook, it’s basically, we just want to breathe, we just want to chance to live our lives, raise our families, go to the store, get a slice of bread, come home,” said music producer, Corey Rolfe.

Organizers of “The Breathe Project” said the music video is just the beginning of the dialogue they hope to have with the community about the positive contributions African American males make to society.

“This is the first step. There’s some other things to come after the video, but the video is our attempt to at least start the conversation. And then we’re going to do other things that are artistic because again, we believe that art helps shape society just as much as politics,” said Harrison.

“The Breathe Project” has one simple message.

“People just want to live and breathe,” said ten-year-old drummer, Sam “Bam-Bam” Hines, Jr.

“We need to breathe, be able to breathe,” said Rolfe.

The “Breathe” video will debut August 22 at 8:46 p.m. Producers say 8-46 represents the eight minutes and 46 seconds that an officer pressed his knee on the neck of George Floyd.

Copyright 2020 KWCH. All rights reserved.

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