A Kelowna singer-songwriter wants to close out Black History Month with a creative call to action.
Brent Carmichael is calling for love, diversity and inclusion, by using a song.
“It’s one thing to hear someone talking about issues and challenges, but sometimes when it’s put into an art form, there’s a little bit more beauty in it and it sinks a little deeper,” he said.
The song explores themes of love and understanding and ways to help future generations avoid past mistakes.
“We need to recognize each other and be sensitive to one another regardless of what we look like, what we believe in, who we love.”
“I’m really just trying to go back to square one. Everyone’s out there searching for the same feeling of love and inclusion. So why can’t we give that as best we can to each other? We don’t have to tear each other down.”
When he says ‘diversity’, he wants it to be all-encompassing and mean race, gender, and sexual orientation. But as someone who is treated differently because of his skin colour, he said race is where his song first lands.
“My friends and I walk into a restaurant and we get stared at and followed, and people wonder what’s going on,” he said.
“I get into an elevator and people are trying to hide their kids and put them to the other side or clutching their purses really tight… these things are really hard to convey in a conversation but there are things that we in the minority have to do to get ready for the day that others don’t have to arm themselves with.
“I’m just trying to open (the conversation) because maybe understanding part of the bridge that will bring us together, and then it will extend to sexual orientation.”
Carmichael said when people listen to the song, he hopes people hear what he has to say and find a way to find love and empathy within themselves.
“Whenever they step out into the world, I just hope they take more of an empathetic view and think ‘hey, maybe I can change the way I interact with others. Maybe I don’t have to show fear because somebody looks different than me’,” he said.
“As a Black man delivering this message, I want people to understand I’m not the victim of the things I’ve been through, but I want to help make things better.”
The song and music video, titled Black, will be available on Feb. 28 on Carmichael’s YouTube channel.