Don’t Pardon the Skin I’m in: Juneteenth 2021
“Don’t pardon the skin I’m in / It’s not a sin / Black is the universe / We’re living in”
—Jimetta Rose, “Continuum (Sickness)”
The Broad commemorates #Juneteenth, the date marking the emancipation of African Americans who had been enslaved in the United States, with Don’t Pardon the Skin I’m In, a video featuring commissioned music by Jimetta Rose and Moor Mother and poetry and song by Shonda Buchanan—three distinct artistic voices—in dialogue with the work of visual artist Kara Walker. Each performer personally selected an artwork by Walker from the Broad Collection that particularly resonated with them and their poetic or musical contribution to the project. The “Black universe” referenced in singer/songwriter Jimetta Rose’s “Continuum (Sickness)” is reflected here as a constellation uniting just a handful of the countless perspectives on the Black experience in American society, simultaneously celebrating and questioning the very definition of freedom.
Rose’s “Continuum (Sickness)” is paired with Walker’s Danse de la Nubienne Nouveaux (1998).
Moor Mother’s “NS 01” is paired with Walker’s Burning African Village Play Set with Big House and Lynching (2006).
Buchanan’s rendition of the traditional African American hymn “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” and her own poem “Black Woman Down (For Breonna Taylor, Nia Wilson, Sandra Bland, and all my sisters who have crossed over unnecessarily, and my mother)” is paired with Walker’s selection of works From set 5 of the series Negress Notes (1996).
00:00 Jimetta Rose
04:42 Moor Mother
08:52 Shonda Buchanan