Tampa Bay musicians perform tribute to Elijah McClain, who was killed by police last year

The video was produced by the Straz Center for the Performing Arts.


Following the one-year anniversary of Elijah McClain’s death, local musicians produced a tribute to honor the life of the 23-year-old Black therapist and musician who was killed by cops in Aurora, Colorado.

The video features musicians from The Straz Center, Patel Conservatory, The Florida Orchestra, the Florida Bjorkestra and the Same Day Delivery Orchestra. Christopher Barbosa, a local musician, chose the Alicia Keys song “Perfect Way to Die” for the tribute. He also composed the arrangements for the tribute and served as the lead violinist.

McClain, who died in August 2019 after being placed in a chokehold by police in Colorado, was said to have a strong connection to music. The video recounts stories of him playing violin for cats at the pet store he worked at.

The video was filmed at The Sunshine Kitty Catfe and each musician practiced social distancing during the filming process. Musicians who opted not to go to the cafe were able to record their parts at home.

Those involved hope that in addition to honoring McClain’s life, the tribute serves as a call to action to those listening. They say the story of McClain’s death is all too common.

Tribute to Elijah McClain

One year later, Tampa Bay musicians honor Elijah McClain’s life. Demand justice at CallForElijah.com. * * * Song: “Perfect Way to Die” by Alicia Keys

Posted by Straz Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday, August 29, 2020

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