Now On View in the Toni Rembe Freedom Theater

Melody Set Me Free

Melody Set Me Free revolves around protagonist Patience O’Brien, played by Kalup Linzy, who leaves her hometown to become a singer despite the protestations and discouragement of her mother. Appearing in drag, Linzy lip-syncs to a prerecorded voice-over alongside other actors. A biting takedown of heteronormative cinematic narrative devices, the work also reflects on the intimacy of familial and interpersonal relationships. This video acted as a pilot for Linzy’s YouTube series of the same name, mirroring the artist’s own trajectory from small-town obscurity to big-city success.

This piece is appearing as part of Black Refractions: Highlights from the Studio Museum in Harlem.

It is on view January 16 – April 14, 2019.

Kalup Linzy, Melody Set Me Free, 2007.
Digital video, color, sound; TRT: 00:15:10
The Studio Museum in Harlem; Museum purchase with funds provided by the Acquisition Committee 2009.1