Singer, songwriter, McDonald shares her music and the messages that lay within. She also brings a fresh air approach to the music industry and spreading joy
Host: Eric Scott
Description: Singer, songwriter, McDonald shares her music and the messages that lay within. She also brings a fresh air approach to the music industry and spreading joy
Runtime: 30 minutes, 39 seconds (30:39)
We McDonald’s star-making turn on her show-stopping blind audition on the hit NBC TV show The Voice drew national attention in 2016. It was the kind of momentous debut she had been preparing for her entire life. Singing since the age of 12, We attended the Harlem School for the Arts after school and on weekends, where she studied theater, piano and further cultivated her unique and righteously robust voice.
We McDonald is a singer, and songwriter and that has been touring internationally and sharing her sultry vocal gift with the world. In 2017, We had the opportunity of appearing on the Emmy Award winning PBS Gershwin Awards honoring Legend Tony Bennett. And, in 2018 she belted the National Anthem at Yankee Stadium.
Available now is her latest single “If I Didn’t Love You”, released early 2019. Late 2019 her self-titled EP is scheduled to be released featuring a diverse slate of songs written by We that showcase her soaring vocal presence. A newly published children’s and young adult book author, We released: Make It Happen! We McDonald: Singer, part of the Make It Happen! series of books that help middle school students build skills to reach their own goals; and a picture book, The Little Girl with The Big Voice, written by We for younger children. We’s captivating story as a singer, songwriter and as a teenager courageously embracing her uniqueness resonates with kids as well as adults looking to expand their own understanding of themselves and the world around them.
In conversation, NPR’s Ailsa Chang sat down with Angie Thomas, the acclaimed author of The Hate U Give, and the movie’s director George Tillman Jr., to discuss how the book and film connected with their own personal experiences.
The Hate U Give tells the story of a teenage girl, Starr Carter (Amandla Stenberg), who is a part of two worlds: the poor, predominantly black neighborhood where she resides, and the white, affluent prep school that she attends. Her worlds are turned upside down when she witnesses the fatal police shooting of her childhood friend, an unarmed black male teenager. Following the tragic shooting, Starr is drawn towards a life of activism to stand up for her friend, who is called a “thug” and other misinformed names by the media, and to protest the wrongful actions of police brutality.
George Tillman Jr., the director of the film, spoke with Chang about what it was like to base certain scenes from the movie on actual talks he received growing up. He discussed how emotional it was to bring these scenes to life, particularly because he now has a teenage son himself. “This deals with history,” he said. “This deals with survival and how we can continue to stay on this earth without police brutality or being shot or being killed. You know, this is part of the fear of the African-American community.”
Another significant theme in the book is how Starr navigates between her two worlds, and how she feels an internal pressure to erase her blackness while at her fancy prep school with her white classmates. Certainly, many of us can relate to this uneasy pressure growing up or currently in the workplace, and this double life is actually based on author Angie Thomas’s life experiences.
Growing up, Thomas also lived in a mostly black neighborhood while attending a predominantly white, private college in Mississippi. She described her own experiences as a struggle, and practiced the art of code switching. “I would make myself more presentable I thought. I was careful of how I spoke. I was careful of how much emotion I showed,” Thomas said. “And it was a struggle because so often I was silent on things that mattered to me. And I would experience microaggressions from my classmates, and I was silent about them. I never called out the racism.”. READ MORE........