By Ed Long
The Fourth Choir stands in solidarity with the black community in the US, the UK and around the world.
We demand justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery and all victims of racist violence.
We honour all those fighting for change, through protest, organising, donations, raising awareness, providing medical and mental health support, journalism and legal action.
As an LGBT+ choir we owe a debt to all those who took risks and fought back to attain the rights we enjoy today. Figures like Stormé DeLarverie, Marsha P Johnson and Sylvia Rivera – queer black and Latinx campaigners who took a stand against harassment by a corrupt police force and kicked off the Stonewall uprising.
More recently, Lady Phyll’s work founding UK Black Pride in 2005, and subsequently in partnership with Stonewall, has been transformative in celebrating, supporting and empowering queer people of colour in Britain. This has uplifted the whole LGBT+ community.
As a (currently) majority white choir, we also recognise that this is not only an external struggle. During our last online rehearsal, our members took time to reflect on and affirm our own responsibilities in practising active allyship to our black and BAME communities, challenging racism and effecting change in our own circles.
While music and the arts have enormous power to bring people together and raise awareness, they also have barriers to entry, are selective in their representation of creative talent and can easily be vehicles for culturally insensitive performance or appropriation.
We celebrate the black composers, arrangers and writers whose works we have sung, the singers and musicians we have performed with, and the actors and readers who have contributed to our concerts.
But we know we can do better. Classical music (and choral music in particular) is often overwhelmingly white across its performers, audiences, composers and librettists. We know there is more we can do to change this, through our membership, programming and collaborations and are determined to do so.
There is no pride for some of us without liberation for all of us.
Please support and donate to:
UK Black Pride - promoting unity and cooperation among LGBTQ people of diasporic communities in the UK
Black Lives Matter UK - working for a world where Black lives are no longer systematically targeted for demise
Chineke! Foundation - supporting Black and Minority Ethnic classical musicians in the UK and Europe
Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust - helping young people overcome discrimination and businesses be more inclusive of diverse talent
UK LGIG - supporting LGBTQI+ Asylum Seekers & Refugees