Gospel singer Keedron Bryant caught the attention of many after performing on season 4 of NBC’s talent competition “Little Big Shots”. Now, the 12-year-old has gone viral with his moving tribute to the late George Floyd.
Bryant’s original song “I Just Want To Live” details the heartbreaking realities of being a young Black man, which has become a rallying cry amid the ongoing protests over police brutality and racial injustice.
During a virtual interview with ET Canada’s Carlos Bustamante, the young boy and his mom Johnetta react to the nationwide success of the song, which now has over 3.2 million views and has earned praise from countless celebrities, including LeBron James, Janet Jackson, and Katy Perry.
“I feel proud,” says Keedron’s mom. “This young man being so passionate about change, as a mom, yes, I’m proud! But I’m beyond that. It’s just an amazing time. I’m happy I’m able to see it.”
In the powerful song, Bryant sings: “I’m a young Black man, doing all that I can to stand. Oh, but when I look around and I see what’s being done to my kind every day, I’m being hunted as prey.
“My people don’t want no trouble, we’ve had enough struggle. I just want to live. God, protect me, I just want to live.”
The Jacksonville native reflects on the reality of the lyrics: “It is sad and unfair that I have to sing those lyrics because we can’t go out and live life and enjoy life like everybody else can.
“But on the bright side, it’s powerful and exciting to sing the lyrics because I can get the message out there to everybody that there can be hope to change the world and we could all be equal and come together as one.”
Since the viral success of his song, Bryant has been recognized by former president Barack Obama, appeared on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”, “Good Morning America”, and most recently, performed the national anthem at a NASCAR race in Atlanta.
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) June 8, 2020
“It makes me feel proud of myself,” says Keedron of his worldwide recognition. “That’s our first Black president and he’s supporting me. And that’s just overwhelming, so I was very excited to see that.”
Obama drew attention to the song in a statement on the death of Floyd, writing, “Another friend of mine used the powerful song that went viral from 12-year-old Keedron Bryant to describe the frustrations he was feeling.”
He continued: “The circumstances of my friend and Keedron may be different but their anguish is the same. It’s shared by me and millions of others.”
My statement on the death of George Floyd: pic.twitter.com/Hg1k9JHT6R
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) May 29, 2020
Fans can watch Keedron’s a cappella performance of “I Just Want To Live” above.