In the month leading up to MLK Day, our blog will be exploring diverse expressions of art created by people of color. The blog will highlight artists, collaborators, performers, poets, filmmakers, and everything in between. We will be exploring creative outlets that express the various ways racial injustice exists today.

In addition to reading, you can join our MLK Campaign and help us serve in solidarity by hosting and volunteering. Together we can #ActNowForRacialJustice.

Meet: Anthony Mordechai Tsvi Russell

Russell is a classically trained opera singer with an astonishingly rich and resonant bass voice. After performing in the opera field for several years (including his professional debut in the world premier of Philip Glass’ opera Appomattox), he switched courses to focus his craft on Yiddish art and folk songs, as well as Chasidic nigunim (wordless melodies).

One of his ongoing projects, Convergence, which is featured in the video, combines Ashkenazi and African American traditional musical forms. In the video, he talks about creating a precedent for the harmonic merging of Negro spirituals and Yiddish art songs, and how this work helped him “fall into himself” – as a performer, as an African American man, and as a Jew by choice. The first recording of Convergence is set to be released in 2017 – find out more at Russell’s website.