Tell it like a King.
Need an example? Watch this. (Thank you Fellow Rujen Amatya for the video!)
Isaac King is the Brazil Alumni Intern for GCY. Isaac has worked hard helping the current generation of Brazil Fellows in a journey similar to the one he took with Global Citizen Year 3 years prior.
One of the most inspiring people I have ever met, I cannot imagine my GCY experience without Isaac. From helping Fellows with summer campaign issues (aka the dreaded visa process), to successfully leading 32 anxious Fellows on the 32 hour voyage from San Francisco to Florianópolis, to organizing Training Seminar 1 in his Brazilian hometown of Morretes, to general interning at the Brazil GCY Office (right down my street!), Isaac has been an incredible support to the Fellows.
Despite his full plate, Isaac worked behind the scenes, pouring his heart out in preparation to tell his own story.
On December 18, 2017, at the Centro Integrado de Cultura just outside the city center, Isaac performed his Passion Project.
And… wow. I was absolutely blown away.
Alongside two Brazilian instrumentalists and our own Fellow musical genius, Leo Salvatore (pictured right), Isaac performed original songs with deep and powerful lyrics reflecting on what it means to be a “country boy”, “black”, and “gay”.
“The inspiration for this show came from a general need of someone to talk about these things. Some type of shake or movement on these topics. I feel like as a people we shy away from the things that hurt us the most. And for me I wanted to dive right into all that pain I wanted to go right there and make someone see it for what it is.”
With the idea of showcasing the raw, in the moment pain that him and so many others of similar identities feel, Isaac featured a special guest drama group in his show. A passionately performed poem by 3 Afro-Brazilian women embodied the deep emotional struggle of a Black Woman’s coming of age in Brazil.
It was up to the audience to chose how they wanted to look at me when they left the experience. Did they want to look at me and show pity? Or did they want to give me one label? Or see me as a human being, multi-faceted with a voice and things to say and things to get off my chest, that feels and loves and cares
I gave the audience some tarefas, some homework after the show. How are they going to impact other’s lives and mindfully take their own actions into account? I wanted for this to be not just a one way experience but very much two sided.
It was my diary entries for the last few years, all coming out in a one night show. You got to experience the real, vulnerable, unapologetic truth of me. I had nothing to hide. I was being the honest human being I am
My vision for the show was to have this experience to be an exchange. I didn’t want people to just come watch me sing. I wanted it to be an interactive experience, journey that you get to see, how I got to the place I am now. I wanted people to walk away. In the early stages of putting this together, I wanted it to be a one night show where I just sing. It was inspired by a performance by an artist that did a monologue. Even though I didn’t understand half of what he said, I felt … He gave me a rush, a sensation I couldn’t shake. For the next 4 days I felt so moved. I had to be honest with myself and realize why it wasn’t leaving me. I realized I had to do something similar. I didn’t need everyuone to undersand every word I sang, or even the language, but I needed them to feel experience and live those moments I went through. My stories, my realities, but also shared with so many others in this world.
I didn’t want to do a lot of promotion, or a big production. I wanted it to be very intimate. Everyone has a moment in the show where it was just me and them. You could feel my pain and I could see yours and we could relate. Or I could see the love you have or the love. You feel the passion in my voice or see it in my expression. I didn’t want it to be people who didn’t want to be there. Who needs to be there, to experience this, they would come. I wanted them to come, no one else. My goal was to alter someone’s thought process. And if I change one person’s mindset during that night, then I did justice by the experience that inspired me to create that one night. The boy who was never… It inspired me to do more, to tell my truths.
In an amazing display of talent from all members of the band, the group also improvised two songs based off random words from the audience.
The audience was moved to a roaring standing ovation. Some of us were — I was— even moved to tears.
Isaac’s stories inspired me to rethink how I tell my story. And how I tell the story of others. They are not just a friend. They are a name. They are a person with a story and all of that condenses into a short collection of letters that holds the history of a life well spent.
So how to tell a story like a King?