The current generation of teenagers is anything but apathetic. Since the 1960s we have never seen so many young people of all races, economic classes and parts of the country engaging in traditional political activity, protests and artistic and cultural expressions decrying systemic racism, injustice, inequality, governmental bungling, etc.
A case in point: 15-year-old Germantown Friends School student Angelina Mack, whose family recently moved from Mt. Airy to Elkins Park, has written and produced a YouTube video with excellent production values showcasing her timely pop song, “Stop A Fight.” Her song is for “the men of color in my life, starting with my father and brother.” Her message is of “non-violence through listening to the issues sensitively and then playing a positive role after gaining a deeper understanding.”
Some of the lyrics of “Stop a Fight” are: “You say you don’t see color. Then draw your curtains like the others Who opened long ago. See our brothers with no hope. We stand for them, so join the lovers.
We teach love for one another. We see pain. Walk on the stains. We’re the beasts you cannot tame … I spent my days denying who I am. I never had the courage to take a stand, But in my head I know that I should be The bridge for you and me.”
Angelina's song is rapidly accumulating views on YouTube (more than 10,000) and caught the attention of TeenMag, where she was recently featured. “As a multi-racial artist,” said Miles, her proud 18-year-old brother, “her music is a testament to the times we currently live in. Her heavy, dark-toned and mature vocal will bring goosebumps to even the most seasoned listener.”
Angelina, a 10th grader, is not studying piano right now, but last year she took a music production class at GFS with teacher Sean Hennessey because she wanted to create a song on her computer. Sean pushed her into writing a song for her class. “When the protests were soaring,” said Miles, “Angelina took our pain and channeled it into her songwriting. My dad helped her with the final production, and in two days 'Stop A Fight' was born. A family friend named Arton also helped.”
Angelina, who enjoys making videos in her spare time on a platform called iMovie, has just written another song called "Free.” According to the songwriter, “It is a song of hope stemming from being oppressed by peers. My dad always said to me and my brother, 'If you're ever bullied, tell them that you are gonna love them anyway, and there's nothing they can do about it!'
“The Black Lives Matter Movement rings loud in my heart. My dad, Al, is African American/African Caribbean and Japanese, and my mother, Cristiana, is from Lake Como in Italy, so I felt compelled to share my perspective. My goal is to create bridges of understanding for anyone in need of having their voice heard louder and peacefully. With all of the protests, I felt like I wasn't contributing my share, so I decided to write a song to bring more attention to the movement through music.”
There are dozens of comments from viewers about “Stop A Fight” on soundcloud.com, and there is not a thorn in the bunch. Here is a sampling: Alessandra DeBernardi: “Powerful lyrics and magnificent voice. So young, yet so ripe and expressive.” Amparo Stetina: “A balm for the soul; you are amazing.” Naomi Kenyatta: “WOW! Your voice and lyrics give me hope.” Rachel Bradburd: “Beautiful song! Such moving lyrics. I'm so glad to be able to hear it.” Giorgio Luca Tornaghi: “Very mature, and I love your tone.” Maxine Resnick: “Angelina, this is absolutely amazing. Your voice is gorgeous, and the song is moving and hopeful. GREAT JOB!”
Angelina played classical piano all throughout her childhood but stopped studying when her beloved music mentor, Edith Hirshtal, died. The pandemic took away most of her social interaction, of course, and “diminished so many massive opportunities to exchange ideas and laugh out loud … And we, of course, couldn't travel.”
When asked what was the best advice she had ever received, Angelina replied, “That we shouldn't be so concerned about conforming to what others want us to be. We should learn first to love ourselves so we can then love others.”
You can see and hear Angelina's song at youtu.be/5DsVGpvVfME. Len Lear can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org