12-year-old turns heads on social media with passionate performance about being a young black man in today’s world


(AP) – Keedron Bryant, the 12-year-old who turned heads on social media with his passionate performance about being a young black man in today’s world, has signed a deal with Warner Records, and on Friday, will officially release his song that went viral.

Keedron Bryant’s powerful video, posted on May 26, features the lyrics “I’m a young black man doing all that I can” from the song “I Just Wanna Live,” written by his mother.

Friday’s release of the song coincides with Juneteenth, the holiday to commemorate the emancipation of slaves in the U.S.

“It’s very exciting because this is what God’s called me to do,” Keedron Bryant said in an interview with The Associated Press this week, adding that “it’s just been an exciting experience to work with my mom.”

Johnnetta Bryant said watching the video of George Floyd as a police officer pressed a knee on his neck affected her “deeply.”

“Because I am a mom to a black son. I have a black husband. I have black brothers, uncles, cousins, friends.”

So, she payed and asked God to send her a sign.

The clip went viral, with Barack Obama, LeBron James, Janet Jackson, Lupita Nyong’o and more acknowledging its impact and importance on social media.

Like most of the world, music producer Dem Jointz watched the video of Keedron Bryant singing a cappella, saying “it hit me in the gut.”

“It just moved me to create music around his vocal,” said Dem Jointz, who produced music for the song and then contacted the family to share his version with them. “It was so much energy coming from the video alone, it was just easy for me to produce around that.”

Dem Jointz’s re-working of the song caught the attention of the head of urban marketing at Warner Records: “I was already moved by the record but hearing the vocals over the production, it just hit me in another way,” Chris Atlas said.

“I was like, ‘Wow this is an amazing song.’ We should be a part of making sure the world hears this on a larger capacity but then also donate proceeds from the song to the right cause,” the senior vice president added. “That’s actually giving back and using music as a healing mechanism, which I truly believe it is.”

Keedron Bryant, who turns 13 on July 3, said he’s looking forward to recording more songs and working with Warner on music.

He said though “I Just Wanna Live” came from a dark place, he’s looking forward to society changing for the better.

“It’s unfair that black people can’t go out and enjoy life and live without having fear that something’s going to happen to them, so it was kind of sad to sing those lyrics,” Keedron Bryant said, adding, “But (there’s) still hope in the world that we can change the world.”


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