|Credit||Courtesy of the artist|
Concept: Patrisse Cullors
Video shot by: Patrisse Cullors
Assistant: Alexandre Dorriz
Edited by: Giovanni Solis
Score: Meshell Ndegeocello
Black Lives Matter founder Patrisse Cullors created this video work, Whispers: Pray For LA, in January 2021, amidst an unprecedented surge in Covid-19 cases in Los Angeles, where she lives. Her video is part of the larger, ongoing Pray for LA project launched by Crenshaw Dairy Mart, an artist collective founded in 2020 by Patrisse, Alexandre Dorriz, and noé olivas. The Pray for LA initiative and associated artworks are intended as offerings to the thousands of working-class Angelenos who have suffered under the weight of Covid-19, systemic racism, and the neglect of a county, state, and country that have continuously and deliberately prioritized profit over people.
Whispers functions both as a prayer for the Los Angeles community and as a meditation on the emotional labor and toll of activism: “There are days where I pray for LA; there are days where I mourn LA; there are days where I love LA; there are days where I hate LA,” the artist intones. She invites us to the ocean to offer up our hearts and our grief over the sickness and death that have impacted Los Angeles and the nation at large. Whispers asks us to fight for a world in which every family has meaningful access to healthcare, food, and shelter– “We deserve so much more”– and concludes with an impassioned call for abolition.