19-year-old Rachel Lockhart is already making her mark on the Black Lives Matter movement with a video she choreographed and danced, set to Michael Jackson's song, "They Don't Care About Us." The video, entitled "They Still Don't Care" was shot in various locations of Birmingham, Alabama, against the emotional social backdrop of George Floyd's murder, and the racial turmoil this nation must reckon with if it is to ever, ever heal.
About to enter her second year at Juliard for dance (though, of course, everything is up in the air right now — no pun intended,) Ms. Lockhart also graduated from Alabama School for Fine Arts. Both of her parents are well established on the arts scene in Alabama.
Michael Tomberlin, of the Alabama Newscenter, caught up with Ms. Lockhart, and spoke with her about how the movement has impacted her dance and motivated her to create something so very special and deeply moving.
“I was just trying to think of ways I could use my platform and also use my art form to spread awareness to everything that’s going on,” Lockhart said. “Although I like sharing posts and liking pictures and donating, I felt like there was a part of me that hadn’t really expressed my side of things.”
Not unlike the many murals that have been created in Birmingham and other parts of the state, Lockhart’s dance is an artistic expression that seeks unity, understanding, equality and social justice.
Lockhart said she has been blown away by the reaction.
“People are loving it,” she said. “They’re saying it’s very powerful with a great message.”
“Expressing all of the anger, frustration, wrath, and pain of our people through art,” Lockhart wrote in her Facebook post of the video. “Fighting for a change through movement and film, we teamed up on this project in hopes of spreading awareness through our art.”
“I played the music and just set whatever came to me,” she said. “I really wanted to channel the concepts of pain and anger and wrath that everyone has been feeling lately and put that all into movement and expression.”
The young woman aspires, at the moment, to teach. Those students will be very lucky indeed.
The choreographic motif that repeats throughout has her standing with one arm raised with a Black Power fist, then transitioning both arms into the "Hands Up, Don't Shoot!" position, finally slowly bringing them down to lock behind her back, wrists together, as if in handcuffs. Amazingly, she dances on, with her hands "bound" behind her back.
As a friend noted on Facebook when I shared Ms. Lockhart's video, this video is "as truthful as art can be."