NEW YORK — Nov. 2, 2020 — Elli Perry has lived in Glynn County, Ga., on and off throughout her life. It’s the same county where Ahmaud Arbery lived and died in February of this year, after being chased and shot by three white men during his afternoon run. The Bitter Southerner says the song “cuts to the core of Perry’s reality as a white woman from the South attempting to reckon with the culture and class she was raised in — one that continues to uphold violence against Black neighbours with its ‘polite’ and resolute silence.” The song is available now, by donation only—100 per cent of proceeds go to YOUth Speak Justice, an organization founded and led by youth in the area in response to the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. Their mission is to engage young people in social justice work and community-led activism and amplify our youth’s critical role in the fight to dismantle systemic racism.
The video is a collaboration between Perry, Maurice Johnson and Drew Cullen Miller, all three of whom have lifelong ties to the area. It creates a vision of life in this region, illustrating how racism, white supremacy, and inequity are woven into the backdrop of daily life in the South specifically, and in the United States more broadly. The video was neither staged nor scripted but shows everyday moments in Glynn, McIntosh, and Chatham Counties in Georgia in the summer of 2020.
Perry wrote “Glynn County” shortly after the video of Mr. Arbery’s murder went viral, as an attempt to process the complexity of her feelings about the case. The song presents a critical examination and indictment of a pervasive culture throughout the South and her home community: a culture of complacency, complicity, and silence in the glaring face of generational, systemic racism and institutionalized violence against Black neighbors.
“Glynn County” will not be made available on any streaming platforms. Instead, it will be available for donation only—100 percent of its proceeds go to YOUth Speaks Justice in perpetuity. “Glynn County” was recorded and filmed on occupied Arapaho, Cheyenne, Kickapoo, Wichita, Muscogee (Creek), and Yamassee Territory and focuses on the region that comprises the ancestral home of the Gullah-Geechee.