Featuring a moving performance of “Amazing Grace” with pianist John Rangel, Cathryn McGill shares how the inspirational song helps overcome unconscious bias.
Funding for COLORES was provided in part by:
Frederick Hammersley Foundation
This project is supported in part by New Mexico arts,
a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, and by the
National Endowment for the Arts.
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THIS TIME, ON COLORES!
FEATURING A MOVING PERFORMANCE OF AMAZING
GRACE WITH PIANIST JOHN RANGEL,
CATHRYN MCGILL SHARES HOW THE INSPIRATIONAL SONG HELPS
OVERCOME UNCONSCIOUS BIAS.
DAVID BUTLER IS WORKING TO FILL THE VOID OF THE BLACK
COMMUNITY'S REPRESENTATION IN THE ARTS.
A MUSIC OPPORTUNITY LIKE NO OTHER, THE INNOVATIVE
DETROIT INSTITUTE OF MUSIC EDUCATION IS FOR THOSE WHO
DREAM OF A CAREER IN MUSIC.
TIBETAN MONKS OF THE DREPUNG LOSELING MONASTERY
FOLLOW THE SACRED TRADITON OF CONSTRUCTING AND
DISMANTLING A SAND MANDALA.
IT'S ALL AHEAD ON COLORES!
AN AMAZING GRACE.
>>Megan Kamerick: Cathryn McGill thank you for joining us on
>>Cathryn McGill: Thank you for having me.
>>Kamerick: Why is Amazing Grace particularly important for you
>>McGill: Music is the part of every part of my life,
every joy, and every sorrow, and I know that,
that when I'm able to allow my soul to sing,
that it naturally is going to heal me.
Going to church, like, was always just a part of what we
did, and my mother was a very, I think, that if I could say
I knew somebody who is a true Christian, my mother was.
Ruby Carter, she was a teacher, she was raising
five kids on a teacher's salary, but she always
found ways to give back and to try to teach us how
to be good people, and how to do the right think when
nobody's looking, and I remember that Amazing
Grace was kind of the soundtrack of our lives.
Like we go to church, and deacons of the deaconess
would be singing acapella, this song Amazing Grace.
So, I'd learned it when I was, I heard it from the
time I knew that there was music, I knew that song.
>>Kamerick: Can you tell us about the history of the song?
>>McGill: John Newton, who was the captain of a slave
ship, the coast of Sierra Leone, was transporting
people who were enslaved, and he had this
transformation, and he wrote the story of that
transformation in Amazing Grace when he said, "I was
blind, but now I see."
When he looked into the faces of people who were
considered to be chattel, property, they were not
considered to be human, they were actually listed as cargo.
And when you look into someone's eyes, if you say this
is a real person, and I can't no longer view them as chattel.
I was blind and now I see.
And so, that story has significant metaphors for
our lives, of like, what are we blind about, you
know, what if we take a deeper look, will we see?
>>Kamerick: His story is interesting because it
took him a while to make that change.
>>McGill: It took him a while, and it takes some
of us a while to make those changes, I'm still
trying to make lots of changes that I'd like to
make, but, you know, he got there, and his getting there
tells us that it's possible for everybody to do that.
>>Kamerick: And, how is Amazing Grace about our
>>McGill: It is about being in a situation that
you, you look at and you start to say, it isn't
what it seems just on the surface.
When I go deeper, when I look further, when I look
beyond people's imperfections, to their
heart and to their intent, I can offer them a
compassion, I can offer them that love that might
not be possible otherwise.
>>Kamerick: What is mental image editing and why is
It sounds like you're doing a little of that.
>>McGill: Yeah, you know, and I think, like, so,
when I look at you, like I might have some
impressions about, well who is this woman sitting
in front of me with the, you know, beautiful pink
blouse and, you know, great smile and beautiful voice.
But I might have some things that I, that I'm
bringing with me, those sorts of things, well you
know, you have to think these things about, you
know, this woman, she's a white woman.
What does that mean?
I'm a black woman.
When you see me, what does that mean?
If somebody's walking down a dark street and you see a
young black man walking up behind you, what does that mean?
So, in your head you have this image of what that
means, and who that person is that may be completely
erroneous and in most cases is, and so if you
take the time to say, I want to evaluate people on
an individual basis, I don't want to bring with
me something somebody told me that I should think
about them, and so, I want to like, you know, figure
out how I remove those stereotypes, and remove
those things that I've been told that I have to
think, and really just look at the person.
If you don't like me because you think that I
am not a good person, I'm so okay with that, but if
it's because you think that because of the color
of my skin that makes me inferior, then we got a problem.
>>Kamerick: But it can also be something positive?
>>McGill: It can be something positive, it's
totally something positive and I think that's the way
we want to look at it to say, because what it is,
is that introspection that we all I think have to
engage in to say okay, let me evaluate this, is this
really what's happening or did I bring in some other
stuff to this that I need to remove from the situation.
What's my lens in this particular situation?
Is it the, the Course in Miracles talks about, you
know, the thing is never really the thing, you know?
What we believe is based on something that we've
been told, so evaluate that in every situation I think,
and it's a daily, minute by minute, hour by hour challenge.
>>Kamerick: As individuals, how can we
come to this realization?
>>McGill: I think you just have to say, stipulate
that it is happening even in this moment, as you're
looking at me, as you're looking at any other person
in your life, you're doing it in every single moment.
So, you also have the ability to undo it, if you
are conscious, if you become aware of those
areas in your life where your unconscious racism,
or your unconscious sexism, is affecting other
people, then you're required, I think, to say,
I'm going to take a look at it, and I can, you
know, I have that ability.
>>Song: Amazing grace!
How sweet the sound, that saved and set me free.
I was, was lost, but now am found; was blind, but now I see.
Through many, many dangers, toils, and
snares, I have already, I've already come, I've
already come, 'tis grace hath brought me safe,
brought me safe thus far, and I know grace will lead me home.
When we've been there ten thousand, ten thousand
years, bright shining, bright shining as the sun.
We've no, no less days to sing, to sing and praise
than when we'd first begun.
I've always painted, I've always drawn, I've always
told stories, but I've gotten into narrative painting
and portraiture, more so in the last seven or eight years.
I, kind of, made it my mission to try and bring
narratives of people who look like me, more into my work.
What's wrong with advocating for more of
your stories being told.
Like, that's always the weird thing, people would
be like, "what's the wrong I'm doing by saying I want
to see more black people on my TV screen, I want to
see more people on paintings, I want to see
more black people everywhere." In everything
because I act in a world where I see black people
every day and, like, you do to.
Being black is, like, only part of the experience
when you're getting to know me.
Like, you know, my blackness is just, like,
the first thing you're notice.
I know who I am, I know that I'm, like an African
American, heterosexual, cisgendered male who
exists in a world that has socially constructed ideals.
So why not place those ideals and challenge those
ideals in my work.
We usually are always pitting ourselves up against a
white standard that was never built for us to exist in.
That trail has already been laid for white males
to walk through fairly easily.
And if you don't fit into that subject or that
theme, you have to either assimilate to that or you
have to challenge that system.
I was reading this book, talking about the history
of the black image through cartoons and, kind of,
made me investigate, like, other identities, like
kind of, how we perceived people of color throughout
our entire lives through the lens of cartoons,
comic book strips, and it's, kind of, built these
stereotypes out of these fun images, or playful images.
But I also latched onto the symbol of the coloring
book, now, how in our millennial age adult
coloring books are a thing.
And so, because we are introduced to color in
general through a coloring book as a child, but now
color is being expressed to us as adults as this
thing to build your brain.
You can build through learning how to color.
But in our society now, color is an issue, still.
And nobody wants to build their brain to understand
color on a social context.
So, by me, placing color people of color in these
coloring book pages with these images that are
stereotypical images, right.
So I place the stereotypical images in
there with them and it kind of builds this world
that they exist in.
This world that doesn't exist.
It's a world where we're understanding color as
adults, you know, in the literal sense but not
understanding the people Of color today.
So, my role as an artist is taking you into that world.
It's like my grand hall of oppression because I want
you to feel the way I do.
Being of color in this world is, like, a gift and a curse
because you love yourself, you love your identity,
but the world doesn't necessarily love you back.
PURSUING MUSICAL DREAMS.
Why you gotta be so cruel
- When you walk the halls at DIME you hear incredible music.
- You feel the music industry.
Da da da da da da da
Most places measure success in music by complication.
So more complicated music is better than simple music.
But in the music industry it's the reverse.
Detroit has got the best musical bones of anywhere
in the world.
So the chance to build a college here was an amazing thing.
In 2001 in England we built five colleges there,
so that young people had an academic path into the
music industry that valued modern music at the same
level as traditional music.
We really wanted to help young, modern musicians,
entrepreneurs and songwriters understand how
the business of music works, and that was really
the motivation about setting up DIME.
DIME is different because it focuses on the
contemporary music industry.
A lot of universities you'll study, like one
track you'll do a classical track or a jazz track.
DIME is more fit for students who wanna do pop
music or anything along those lines of being in
the contemporary music industry.
Much better, okay?
It's just amazing how like when you really like get
into it, like as far as your character, how much
that helps the voice.
What you get at DIME is the real deal.
What it's really like every day, and how you
also have to have entrepreneurial skills to
survive in today's industry.
And we want young people to understand it's not
just about playing guitar in your bedroom or being
the next Beyonce, there's everything between.
There will be some singers who realize they're not as
good as some of the other people in their class, and that's okay.
Think how you can find your path in the music industry.
And it doesn't mean that you will never sing again,
it just means that you might do something else as
your primary source of income and that will allow
you to continue your singing passion.
Okay good, very good.
Now, as we go...
Do ti la Just make sure we have a nice blended sound.
Most of our faculty members, if not all,
they're all practicing musicians.
And so we're all familiar with what it takes to have a career,
have your nine to five, and also pursue this dream.
When I leave class, most of the times on the
weekend I'm going to the airport to catch a flight
to go do a one off or a tour date with one of the
artists that I work with.
So I'm able to bring that experience back to the
classroom Monday morning, and that's one of the
things that separates DIME and makes it unique.
The degree that DIME students get is a bachelor
of arts in commercial music performance or
commercial songwriting, or music industry studies,
and the degrees are awarded through
Metropolitan State University of Denver.
If you're a performance major you'll take a class
that's called Live Performer's Workshop,
where you have to learn a different song each week.
In Songwriting, they take classes like Lyric
Writing, Foundations of Song Writing, Writing for Artists.
And then for Music Industry Studies, some of
their main classes are like Domestic Music
Market, International Music Market, Politics of
A&R, Establishing an Artist.
So just kind of like getting a feel for different aspects
of being behind the scenes and not being on stage.
We want students in their first week, when they
enroll in the program, to feel like they've already
entered the music industry.
So it was really important to build a building that
feels inspiring, that's full of music, that has
vintage and new equipment everywhere that students
can trial and test.
>>Eric: We don't have classrooms, we have studios.
So when we go in the studio we're working,
we're vibing, we're collaborating.
We often describe DIME like a development deal.
So we say during your four years, come here and make
all your mistakes.
Use DIME, the program and your academic studies to
figure out who you wanna be so when you graduate
you're gonna get that job that you want.
Yeah, come on.
There we go.
I try to be relentless at making sure I empower them
to know that you can make music, you can turn this
music into a passion and make it a career.
>>Sarah: It's really important for us to open
our doors to the city, and we wanted DIME to feel
like anyone in the city is welcome in these four walls.
>>Kevin: We saw the basement here and because
I'm from like deep jazz world we modeled this on
Charlie Parker's club.
That kinda speak easy, open door attitude about
there's music going on here and anyone can walk
in off the street.
All our events are free, and if someone enjoys a
show we have a student scholarship fund, they can
put a couple of bucks in to say thank you.
Because we are the Detroit Institute of Music Education
we're taking that tagline all round the world with us.
So we have now just built a college in Denver, it's
called DIME Denver, but it's powered by the
Detroit Institute of Music Education.
So we are trying to fly the flag for all Detroit
performers, within Detroit and also outside of
Detroit, and tell the world what an incredibly
talented city this is.
>>Kevin: And, we've also got DIME Online, which is
in 23 countries right now.
And that's also powered by Detroit.
It's also powered by Detroit.
One of our mottoes is like simple done well, so being
able to really take on a song and communicate it to
the point where it just feels like you're just
having a good time and you're really like
touching the person with your music.
You have all of these tools in your tool bag but
you make it look effortless.
And so I think that that is one of the things that
we try to get across here at DIME.
You're here by my side
[Music and Chanting]
>>Sandy: With ceremony and reverence, the Tibetan monks of
the Drepung Loseling Monastery prepare the sand
that will become an intricately crafted mandala of
ancient spiritual symbols and geometric patterns.
[Music and chanting]
>>Sandy: Created over 3 days, the mandala's design
promotes peace and healing.
[Music and chanting]
>>Sandy: Just as important as its creation, the ritual of
destroying the sand mandala is a reminder of the impermanence of
life, and the blessings to those that have
experienced its beauty.
[Music and chanting]
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"UNTIL NEXT WEEK, THANK YOU FOR WATCHING."
Funding for COLORES was provided in part by:
Frederick Hammersley Foundation
...and Viewers Like You