Kid Jay, a local Ypsilanti rapper, collaborated with the Detroit Youth Choir and Indigo Yaj to recreate the 2014 single “Glory,” originally sung by Common and John Legend,. The song is the theme of the 2014 film “Selma.”
The music video was released on Jul.10 to Youtube despite COVID-19 challenges, in order to shed light on issues of racial injustice, a topic of major debate in 2020. Kid Jay and the Detroit Youth Choir utilized artistic platforms in order to promote the need for change and support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The 2020 remake of the song included new verses from the featured artists. The lyrics bring attention to the lack of racial justice in 2020 as well as the difficulties that have resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic. Kid Jay’s solo in the song shares a powerful message within his lyrics.
“I just really wanted to make it clear that, me and my people are strong. Not just us as people, but for us as a black community . . . That’s how I wanted to get my point across in that song,“ Kid Jay said on his verse. "I wanted to also get my point across about how angry I was about the George Floyd killing . .. I just wanted every emotion and every feeling and word to be expressed.”
“Selma” explores the Civil Rights movement and the infamous 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a figurehead of the Civil Rights movement participated in the march.
While filming the music video, the artists took precautions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the opening scene of the video, a disclaimer states that production ensured the safety of those filmed.
The Detroit Youth Choir enforced temperature screening checkpoints and maintained social distancing for those involved in the production of the view, along with sanitation of all equipment during the filming of the video to ensure safety among members of the choir.
“It wasn’t challenging [filming the music video] . . . we had to social distance and check the temperatures,” LaVell R. Nero, The Detroit Youth Choir manager said. “We all sat down and talked about the locations [of the video shoot] . . . received the license and the permits, then next thing you know we were filming."
Despite COVID-19 restrictions, the filming of the music video did not take long.
“It was about a week and a half, close to two [weeks]. [The Detroit Youth Choir] are used to [the] America’s Got Talent [routine], and . . . how intense the rehearsals and vocal training is . . . Most of the time, routines and songs they learned that day or in a day and a half,” Nero said.
Kid Jay was introduced to the Detroit Youth Choir in 2019 at Dave’s Choice Awards, now known as The Detroit Choice Awards. The purpose of the awards ceremony is to celebrate local talent, businesses and success in the state of Michigan. The director of the Detroit Youth Choir, Anthony T. White, then reached out to Kid Jay after seeing the rapper on a WDIV Local (Channel) 4 News interview.
Prior to their official introduction, Kid Jay had known of the Detroit Youth Choir from their time on America’s Got Talent (AGT). The choir was the runner-up of the show’s 14th season in 2019.
“One thing that came across my mind was that I watched these kids sing all over AGT and I was voting for them. The fact that they reached out to me wanting to do a song is crazy. It was just a blessing working with them and I couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity, honestly,” Kid Jay said.
During the collaboration, both Kid Jay and Indigo Yaj added their own verses to the song. “There were two versions of the song [“Glory”]. There was one with my verse and the other with her verse on it,” Kid Jay said. Ultimately, the Detroit Youth Choir chose to combine the two different versions of “Glory” in to a separate, third version.