Jazz is an art form that came from resistance; it came from power struggles. That’s part of what made the music so beautiful, and painful.
How can we, as artists, facilitate something really positive in the world? Music heals us first, and then we’re able to invite the audience into our own experience.
Through the Initiative for Social Change, the club that I founded at NEC, I had this idea to go beyond NEC and partner with the YMCA to do social justice and music.
I made a phone call: “Hi, my name is Darynn, do you guys have a music program?” She said, “No,” and I was like: “Do you want one?”
I wanted to make a program that was fun, engaging, and inspiring—and gives teens a voice, too. We have open discussions, we do bias and diversity work where we talk about our experiences. We play drums, and we have aspects of body movement and being present.
I wish that we all knew how powerful and beautiful we are. And that everyone could feel like they have something to bring to the table.
That’s what art has done for me: given me the power to say, “I belong here. I have something I can contribute.”