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How Fire Shut Up in My Bones Made a Black Queer Opera Fan Feel Seen

West Side Story, the Met is a staggering temple of old white privilege with curving double staircases and crystal chandeliers that ascend to the ceiling. Yet as much as I love the Met, I’ve never seen myself reflected or represented there. Black artists such as Leontyne Price and Jessye Norman have triumphed at the Met, and there are a few popular operas featuring people of color, but most opera singers are non-POC and the most popular operas are written by white men.

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George Perry Floyd Jr. (October 14, 1973 – May 25, 2020) was a black American man killed during an arrest in Minneapolis, Minnesota, after allegedly using counterfeit money to buy cigarettes. Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, knelt on his neck for nearly eight minutes as he lay handcuffed on the ground. After his death, protests against police violence toward black people quickly spread across the United States and internationally.