Fatima Al Qadiri

An Atlanta Police Department vehicle burns during a demonstration against police violence, Friday, May 29, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

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I moved to Los Angeles on March 6, 2020, when shortly thereafter the mayor issued a "shelter in place" order and the city shut down. I took to obsessively watching 80s sci-fi and film noir as the desolate streets conjured an atmosphere of cataclysm. To Live and Die in L.A., the title of a 1985 neo-noir action movie starring Willem Dafoe, became a daily reflection amidst mounting dread of COVID-19. This track, inspired by Hollywood's post-apocalyptic cityscapes of yesteryear, was made during the month of April. Little did I know that in a few weeks time the largest protest movement in US history, Black Lives Matter, would reignite a near-extinguished hope in the fight for justice against systemic racism. A state of emergency and curfew were soon declared and the National Guard moved in to quell the protests. The memories of previous uprisings against police brutality reverberated through the city, notably in 1992 with the beating of Rodney King and in 1965 with the Watts Rebellion. The past, present and future exploded onto the streets of the City of Angels once again.

About the artist

Fatima Al Qadiri is a composer and artist based in Los Angeles. She has released music as a solo artist under her real name and the alias Ayshay. She recently composed the original score for the award-winning feature film Atlantics by director Mati Diop. Al Qadiri is a founding member of the Gulf-based art collective GCC.

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