Teira presents "Grace"
Directed by Teira Lockhart Church
Music and arrangement by Teira Lockhart Church and Aaron Provisor (2009 Spotlight Semifinalist)
Cinematography by Cory Dean Ford
Costume Design by Tracie Fields
"Grace" is a meditation on the sanctity of Black female life, regeneration and the healing power of memory. I often think about how to best take care of my body and soul during this global pandemic as I process the recurring slayings of young women of color who look and feel like me. This piece memorializes the countless women who have lost their lives due to community and state violence. The women who have not been resurrected as hashtags in the digital realm. "Grace" is a celebration of life. Mine and theirs.
Teira Church is a Los Angeles-based interdisciplinary artist, singer, songwriter and producer who layers nostalgic R&B, alternative Jazz, and electronic textures under folk-inspired lyrics. Her practice explores the connectivity between the body and sound, the ephemeral nature of technology and spirituality.
As a child, Church sang gospel in church and snuck into jazz clubs and lo-fi music parties in her teens. Her debut EP, Vortex, explores these sonic connections while highlighting Church’s inner world, from a crumbling swap meet to an abandoned baptism pool in South Los Angeles.
She was a 2007 Grand Prize Finalist in The Music Center’s Spotlight program and Church has performed at music festivals across the U.S. and venues that include LACMA, The Music Center’s Walt Disney Hall, Royce Hall and many others.
What do you love about L.A.?
I love the multilingual, inventive and rebellious energy of the city.
What inspired you to create this particular piece?
I wanted to explore the healing power of memory. I am still processing the death of Breonna Taylor, Atatiana Koquice Jeﬀerson, Sandra Bland and so many other vibrant 20-something women who lost their lives over the last five years. This piece is directly influenced by the #SayHerName campaign, "an intersectional framework for understanding black women's susceptibility to police brutality and state-sanctioned violence."
How important is the music to the piece?
The music for "Grace" rests at the intersection of my love for gospel harmony and electronica. I re-imagined the lyrics to "He Looked Beyond My Faults" (an interpretation of the Irish folksong "Danny Boy") to create a synth-heavy eulogy. The lyrics are an invitation for the listener to look beyond sensationalized depictions of Black women and see our need to be humanized and protected. The music is the most important component of "Grace."
How did you choose the places to film this?
"Grace" was shot in South Central, Los Angeles. I wanted to revisit my childhood neighborhood and shoot in the environment where I first heard music and witnessed sonic collaboration.
What do you hope people take in after watching your piece?