Keedron Bryant, the 12-year-old who moved hearts with his gripping George Floyd anthem “I Just Wanna Live,” has signed a record deal with Warner Records. The now-viral emotional ode will be officially released today (June 19), which marks the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth.
On May 26, Bryant captured the nation’s attention after he posted a 50-sec clip singing acapella on his Instagram account. Shot with a smartphone, the teen encapsulated the reality of what it’s like to grow up Black in America.
“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,” he powerfully sings while looking directly into the camera.
The clip instantly went viral with a number of celebrities resharing it across social media.
Will Smith incorporated the clip in his “No Justice, No Piece” montage.
LeBron James posted it on Instagram with the caption, “I LOVE YOU KID! I LOVE US!”
Former POTUS Barack Obama called his performance “powerful.”
Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o, actress Eva Longoria, and pop legend Janet Jackson all shared the clip on their own Instagram accounts.
“I felt sad that I have to sing that because it's unfair that we can't go out and, like the song says, live,” Bryant said during a recent appearance on the TODAY show. “I just want to live. We can't go out and enjoy life and not be afraid, fear that something is going to happen to us, so it was really sad to have that feeling.”
His mother, Johnetta Bryant, said that watching George Floyd cry out as he was dying “really hit [her] in a deep way” as a Black mother. So, she turned to prayer.
“I began to pray, and so I said, 'God, this world needs help like never before,''' she shared. “So I went into meditation because I needed understanding, I needed strength. I also looked at [like] I need to be able to give my son some wisdom that's gonna help him to be able to live and to be confident in this world, and I knew that it could only come from God. This fight is spiritual as well. I went into prayer and God spoke to me and gave those words to me.”
According to the Associated Press, Warner Records is donating 100% of the net profits of “I Just Wanna Live” to the NAACP. The label will also match every stream of the song on Amazon Music with a $1 donation to the NAACP for the first 24 hours of its release up to a total of $50,000.
Check out the release below.
(Photo: Screenshot from YouTube)