Scared or Not, Byron Freeman is Using His Body and Voice to Move Space and Time

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Byron Freeman is a New York-based singer and dancer, known for dancing alongside videos of Beyoncé, Byron is living life through a vulnerable lens from the way he allows his body to move through space and time as well as using his voice to help men of color confront their own mental health struggles.

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When was the last time you gifted yourself something? Too often we wait for others to give or pour into us without taking responsibility to do it for ourselves. 

Byron Freeman has the self-gift-giving thing on lock. For his birthday this year, he gifted himself the release of his first song – written, produced, and performed by himself.

“I wrote this song a year ago when I was going through a deep dark depression,” he explained. “It was right after my birthday last year and I remember my best friend telling me I needed to find something that brought me joy again.” 

Too often men and women of color sit in their struggle alone. We think that moving forward will eventually cause the dark cloud to find its way away from us. Rather than sitting in this dark time, Byron eventually listened to his friend’s advice. 


“At first I was like ‘yeah, yeah, yeah’ but one really bad day I just picked up my keyboard, sat there for a few minutes, and after a few tears I hit one chord on the piano and wrote “Scared” in like 30 minutes,” he said. 

Byron’s single, “Scared,” is accompanied by an 8-minute video seemingly recalling that very moment. Walking up to the piano, hitting a few keys, and letting the music fly out of him. 

In this new reinvigorated headspace, he is grateful for the impact just a year has had on him. Music is Byron’s healthy outlet, and with it, he hopes to encourage specifically men of color to be honest and careful with their mental health. 

Despite the conversations within communities of color to talk candidly about mental health, Byron sees a lack in male artists using their gifts to connect to people about just that. 

“Throughout the song I say the word scared a few times. Using those words and terms are so unconventional for the black man to say he’s scared. I want my music to almost be like the voice because I feel like men don’t really have a voice for that,” he said. 

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Recently graduated from college, working as a dance instructor for Banana Skirt Byron is moving full speed ahead following the release of his song.

Navigating his fresh start, for him, means embodying the phrase: everything happens for reason.

“I feel like so often we use that phrase when good or bad things happen as a way to rationalize. I think that if you use it for the full spectrum – whether you feel like you fell of, you’re rising, or coasting – either way they are all happening for a reason. There are no losses in life, only lessons,” he said. 

Strength then, to start, restart, and start again all comes back to perspective. You can be fearful and still have the courage to fight towards peace of mind. 

Creatives often feel abandoned by the lack of rules shrouding their work. Rather than doing the hard work of figuring it out, dreams are often abandoned. Byron wants to use his journey through dance and song to push others to keep going. 

“We all have our moments but you can’t allow those Ps and Qs to keep you stagnant,” he said. 

The countdown to 2019 has begun for many of us. With a powerful year behind him and just two months until the ball drops, Byron has his eyes set on reestablishing himself as a recording artist as well as a sign that he’s on the right path. 

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“Even though I’m 10 toes down in this work we all need those little reminders that tell you that this is what you’re supposed to be doing,” he described. “The moment I wrote “Scared” a year ago I was like I need to pray so that people will be asking for more music. My biggest goal is to have the same buzz for my singing that I get for my dancing videos.” 

Regardless of the hurdles that lay ahead, Byron can be scared but will not allow the fear to start to hold him back. 

Move with Byron and feel inspired with a glance on his Instagram or one of his classes at Banana Skirt. 

Alley Olivier