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Milwaukee’s Latino Youth Speak Out in New Music Video, El Color De La Libertad

Amidst divisive national debate over immigration and policies that separate families, the new student lead music video El Color De La Libertad gives voice to Latino youth, providing a powerful perspective on freedom in the United States.



The product of a collaboration between Jazale’s Art Studio and Alexander Mitchell Integrated Arts School, El Color De La Libertad (The Color of Freedom) combines the words of Latino 7th grade students with the talents of Milwaukee-based musicians MC(mikal), Klassik, SistaStrings, and filmmaker Wes Tank. 

Sparked by the 2016 presidential election, Lead Teacher Nora Justin worked closely with Lead Artist Mikal Floyd-Pruitt, who performs under the moniker MC(mikal), to shape an experience that would empower her classroom. Ms. Justin explains, “Prompted by the effect the political climate was having on Alexander Mitchell’s predominantly Latino Student body, I felt it was important to provide space for discussion and to teach my students that their words can be powerful tools of change.”

Using the song Letter to the Free by Common as inspiration, Ms. Justin encouraged her students to write about their relationship to the concept of freedom. Guided by MC(mikal), students recorded their most impactful statements over a reinterpretation of Letter to the Free produced by hip-hop artist Klassik. Inspired by these recording sessions, MC(mikal) contributed a verse to the song and enlisted Sista Strings to sing the chorus. Sound engineer Moses mastered the track, and the students gave it the title El Color De La Libertad.

MC(mikal) worked with filmmaker Wes Tank to develop a series of collaborative art-making workshops that would also function as music video shoots. These workshops afforded students the opportunity to engage in visual art production, interact with a variety of professional artists and activists, and visit creative spaces around the city. The resulting music video is a beautiful reflection of this unique experience that highlights the students and their powerful message.

To watch the video click HERE, search YouTube for the Jazale’s Art Studio channel,

or use the following link  https://youtu.be/JW-96qqFM3M

Support for El Color De La Libertad was generously provided by Alexander Mitchell Integrated Arts School and Arte Para Todos.

About Jazale’s Art Studio

Located in Milwaukee’s Bronzeville neighborhood, Jazale’s Art Studio utilizes Resident Artists to offer enriching after-school and summer arts programming, educational support, and mentorship for children and young adults. Our residency program provides affordable space for professional artists to grow their practices, while our gallery space serves as a venue for other artists and organizations to produce a variety of cultural events.

A word from MC(mikal)

Behind the Scene- what the process of helping the youth who are quoted in this video come to construct the messages that they share?
Nora Justin was the classroom teacher for these students at the time. For several weeks, she worked with them on their essays on the topic of freedom. Once the essays were completed I asked her to help each student select one sentence that they most wanted to communicate through the song we were going to make. Alexander Mitchell is a bilingual school so Ms. Justin made sure there was a balance between sentences in English and sentences in Spanish. I came into the school several times to work with each student to record their part. It was a really fun experience for me.
 
For you personally, how do the separatist ideologies that have never dissipated completely from our society, but have found a safe haven under the current administration’s racist policies affected your day to day existence?
My day to day existence consists of making art and music and using those outlets as a way to bring people together to strengthen the community.
 
Considering the separation of children at the US/ Mexico border, do you see any parallels with the content that is presented in El Color De La Libertad?
The recent news cycle shows images of Latino youth and talks about them, but we don’t often hear from them. El Color De La Libertad is a chance for our Latino youth from Milwaukee to contribute their voices to the national dialogue.


About Alexander Mitchell Integrated Arts School

Mitchell is a large bilingual school with a small-school atmosphere. Our hardworking, dedicated staff uses the Common Core State Standards to provide all students with comprehensive instruction that prepares them to succeed in college and careers. As a Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) School of Merit, we work with all stakeholders to provide a safe, respectful learning environment which allows students to focus on being responsible learners. Our Community Learning Center (CLC) extends services to our Mitchell families beyond school hours and our partnership with City Year enhances both school-day and after-school programming. We are proud of our connections to our neighborhood!

About Arte Para Todos

APT is a volunteer-run not-for-profit organization that works to connect artists, musicians and the community in support of local school art programs.