Keedron Bryant’s soulful plea, “I Just Wanna Live,” touched millions as the adolescent’s song protesting the killing of George Floyd went viral in May.
In a moving video Bryant shared on his Instagram, Keedron, who turned 13 right after the recording, sings a capella, “I’m a young Black man, doing all that I can, to stand.” Those powerful words were written by the boy’s mother, Johnnetta Bryant.
“Before I recorded the song, we watched the George Floyd death,” Keedron, of Jacksonville, Fla., recalls for Yahoo Life. “My mom gave me the lyrics to the song and I meditated on the song and I prayed on the song and after that I recorded the song because I said, I’m ready.”
Now Keedron is signed to Warner Records, which released the official, Dem Jointz–produced version of “I Just Wanna Live” in June, donating all net profits to the NAACP.
“We chose to donate 100 percent of the proceeds to the NAACP because I just really want to invest in a Black owned organization,” the teen says.
Keedron also says he’s excited about being a recording artist and can’t wait to share new music.
“I’m in L.A. right now and I’m working on the album and I’m shooting the music video,” he says.
And he already has some very notable fans: Both Barack Obama and LeBron James shared his video, which now has nearly four million views.
Along with all of the excitement about his record deal, Keedron wants people to remember one thing about what inspired his mother to write, “I Just Wanna Live.”
“The message was that Black people can live on earth and we could enjoy life without having fear in our minds that something is going to happen to us,” he explains. “So I just want to get the message out there that Black people belong here, too, and that we can enjoy life.”
Bryant credits his family with keeping him well-informed about being a young Black male in America.
“Me and my parents, or all of us in my family, we always talk about that I have to remember that I’m a Black male,” he says. “I have to understand that there’s a lot of restrictions on being Black in America. So my parents always talk to me about it and they never sugarcoat the talks about being Black.”
To young Black girls and boys, adds the gospel-singing teen, he wants to say “that even though you may feel a lot of pain, and all the racial profiling that’s going on towards Black people, I want to just say don’t let that get you down because God is gonna always be right there.”
He adds, “I’m just really grateful and I’m thankful for what God is doing in my life right now. And…I just really hope that this can change and we can be equal.”
And finally, because the talent might be very hard to keep up with any day now, he worked on this little game of fill-in-the-blank with Yahoo Life. We’re calling it “Keeping up with Keedron”:
Dream collaboration: John Legend
Favorite TV show: What’s Happening!!
Pop Hip-Hop or R&B: R&B
Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat: Instagram
Favorite food: baked potato
Favorite sport: track and field
Amusement park or beach: amusement park
Favorite subject in school: reading
Favorite holiday: Christmas
Wish for the world: For racial profiling to stop towards Black people
“I Just Wanna Live” is out now and available on all streaming platforms.
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