- Body: Since the African diaspora the physical color of our skin has been used to subjugate and separate, but now that we have all realized that black is beautiful, orchestras need to find ways to make our presence known on stage. When you put black people on TV in hand cuffs and on the inside of chalk lines you create a false mental image of who we are. Orchestras have the power to do just the opposite.
- Mind: Black people have a different experience in modern society from other people, so orchestras need to understand that the way we think is going to be different. Diversity of the mind includes the acknowledgement of offensive language and making sure you aren't guilty of the "save a negro" complex. The current lack of diversity in classical music is a residual effect of years of racism - not a shortage of ability and talent.
- Spirit: All in all orchestras are about the music, and diversifying repertoire is an integral step in getting people of color interested in the art form. Mozart and Beethoven are great, but every orchestra needs to do a better job of integrating compositions by people of color into the season calendars. The music is out there - help audiences hear it.
As I continue up the ladder I'm going to take my experiences from Sphinx and the Gateways Festival and apply what I've learned into my job and try to spread this sort of thinking amongst my colleagues. I shouldn't be the only black member of the Knoxville Symphony. I shouldn't fear wearing a #BlackLivesMatter t-shirt to rehearsal. February shouldn't be the only time someone says the name Chevalier de Saint-Georges. If you agree with me, find a way to actively make a change.