Andra Day Breaks Down in Tears While Watching Keedron Bryant Sing: 'You Are a Beacon of Hope'
"I hate that you have to sing that," Andra Day says on a new Quibi episode after watching Keedron Bryant sing "I Just Wanna Live"
In a PEOPLE exclusive preview of the new episode of iHeartRadio's "Musicology with Tim Kash" airing Wednesday on Quibi, the "Rise Up" singer, 35, is brought to tears while watching Bryant perform the song for her and Kash, 38.
"He has such a bright spirit," Day says after the performance. "You really are just a beacon of light and a beacon of hope. You can see that God has put that in you so powerfully."
"I just think about his mother," she adds. "I'm looking at him, this beautiful baby, and the fact that his mother even has to think about this — we should not have to sing these lyrics. I hate that you have to sing that, but I love you and I appreciate you for singing it."
In "I Just Wanna Live," 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/I just want to live."
Bryant's mother, Johnetta, tells PEOPLE she was inspired to write the song after watching the video of George Floyd's death and showing it to her kids. In the video, disgraced officer Derek Chauvin is seen placing his knee firmly on the back of Floyd's neck as he lies face down on his stomach, handcuffed, next to a patrol car.
Floyd, who was unarmed, can be heard in the video groaning in pain while bystanders plead with Chauvin to be more gentle. Throughout the nine-minute clip, he repeatedly asks for help. He tells the officers he cannot breathe, calls out for his late mother and says that "everything hurts." The video continued until Floyd was visibly still.
"As a mom with a black son, seeing him call out for his mother really struck my heart in a unique way," Johnetta says. "What would I want for my son in a situation like this? Because Keedron knows when he calls for me, I'm coming. So I was like, 'I need something that's going to help him analyze and grasp what is going on in the world around him.'"
Johnetta says that after turning to prayer, the words to "I Just Wanna Live" came to her.
"When God gave me the lyrics, I gave them to Keedron and I told him, 'I want you to go in your room during your devotion time, but I want you to pray over these words. I want you to meditate on them and allow them to get into your spirit so that you may be able to deliver it in a powerful and impactful way,'" she says. "And so he took those lyrics and he did just that. He went in his room and had his time with God and when he was done, he came out and he told me, 'Mom I'm ready.'"
Shortly after posting to Instagram on May 26, the video of Bryant singing "I Just Wanna Live" went viral, with A-listers like Janet Jackson, Lupita Nyong'o and former President Barack Obama reposting it on their accounts. As of Wednesday, the video has more than 3 million views.
"The first black president of the United States supported me and he said my name in his PR statement," Bryant says. "That was really exciting."
With the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests in the wake of Floyd's death, Johnetta hopes there is "permanent change."
New episodes of iHeartRadio's "Musicology with Tim Kash" premiere every Monday, Wednesday and Friday on Quibi.
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