Afrofuturist family music artist and City Councilman Pierce Freelon releases a stop-motion animation music video for LeVar Burton, his song which celebrates the living legacy of a Black cultural icon.
In the song LeVar Burton, Pierce Freelon pays homage to his childhood hero — a legend in education, literacy, science fiction and Black history. The song appears on Freelon’s family music album Black to the Future, “he literally taught me how to read and appreciate books,” says Freelon in an interview with Billboard Magazine, “this man (Burton) was just so influential in my life personally… I just wanted to welcome this elder, this cherished creative and introduce him to a new generation of children and families and to celebrate him.”
The music video for LeVar Burton is a stop-motion animation collage featuring clippings of BIPOC superheroes from Freelon’s own personal collection of comic books. The video was produced by Blackspace, a digital makerspace for Black youth founded by Freelon in Durham, North Carolina and is designed to educate young audiences about Burton’s legacy and spark imagination through a constellation of Black brilliance.
Listen to LeVar Burton and the album Black to the Future wherever you stream music:
ABOUT – BLACK TO THE FUTURE
Black to the Future, the second family focused release from Pierce Freelon, is an album inspired by Afrofuturism, featuring the voices of four generations of his magnificently creative family.After releasing his widely successful debut family album D.a.D. in 2020, Freelon excitedly returned to the studio to expand on his unique musical vision for today’s families. Inspired by Afrofuturist musicians of the Extraterrestrial South***, like Janelle Monae, Sun Ra, Ella Jenkins, The Neptunes and Andre 3000, he brings a cosmic sound and vision to the world of family music. Pierce breaks away from tradition to introduce a blend of imagination, arts, science and technology through a Black lens. He also provides himself the platform to tackle powerful subjects for youth like smashing gender binaries, and encouraging vulnerable masculinity and emotional intelligence.
“These 15 songs reflect my past and show how I was raised in love, and project a bold future for all children. I want to leave the universe better than I found it by raising the vibration and expanding the complexion of children’s music.” says Freelon.
(Cover art for Black to the Future by Accra-based artist Efo Kayleb)
*** “Extraterrestrial South” is a concept first introduced to Freelon by Afro-Southern folklorist Michelle Lanier #CiteBlackWomen
BIO – PIERCE FREELON
Pierce Freelon is a Children’s Music artist, Director, Durham City Council Member and father of two young children.
His children’s music album D.a.D, has been featured on NPR, Today Show, Rolling Stone and New York Times. Pierce is the founder of Blackspace, an Afrofuturism digital maker space. He is the writer, composer and co-director of the PBS animated series, The History of White People in America. He is a co-founder of Beat Making Lab, an Emmy-winning PBS web-series.
Pierce earned a BA in African and African American Studies at UNC Chapel Hill and an MA in Pan African Studies at Syracuse University. He has taught in the Departments of Music, Political Science, and African American Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill and North Carolina Central University. Pierce is the son of 6-time Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist Nnenna Freelon, and the late architect of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Phil Freelon.
Pierce lives in Durham with his wife of 13 years and their two kids.