Kate Tucker explores darker scenes in American history on her new album Practical Sadness, releasing first single "In Your Arms" with video montage from Frank Capra's World War II propaganda film, The Negro Soldier.
Tucker wrote “In Your Arms” with her close collaborator, Kenny Childers. “We were in this phase where we were mining stories from twentieth-century American history that had been for various reasons, obscured. We tried to write within the narrative of what we were discovering. What would it have been like to have been the girl and the guy in the elevator in Tulsa, Oklahoma on May 31, 1921?”
What happened in that elevator would spark a violent race riot in one of the most affluent black communities in the United States, leading to the internment of over 6,000 people for as long as 8 days under the National Guard and martial law. Within the first 24 hours, 35 city blocks would be burned to the ground, leaving 800 people injured and 300 dead.
“These stories are part of us whether we know them or not, and reconciling with the mountain of hurt we’ve inflicted and endured as a nation is the only way we can move toward healing. Music is a powerful healing force, and it’s the best way I know to look anything straight in the eye, especially tragedy. There’s a practical sadness to being American.” Tucker says.
Kate Tucker will release various visual content to accompany the album, and for “In Your Arms” that includes a VR experience, and a montage of footage from The Negro Soldier, a documentary released by the United States Department of War in 1944. Written by Carlton Moss, directed by Stuart Heisler and produced by Frank Capra as a follow up to his successful film series Why We Fight, the film was used as propaganda to convince Black Americans to enlist and fight.
In 1944, The New York Times said this of the film:
“As an inspirational document, The Negro Soldier has probably served well in those areas where such stimulation of war-consciousness is required. It may also convey a fuller respect for the Negro's part in the war to civilian audiences. However, it is to be noted that it very discreetly avoids the more realistic race problems which are generally recognized today. It definitely sugar-coats an issue which is broader than the Negro's part in the war. For this reason, it is questionable whether the purpose which it is intended now to serve publicly may not be defeated by the films own limitations and lacks.”
It’s a Wonderful Life is the next film Frank Capra would make after the war ended.