WARNING: graphic references to physical and psychological abuse
Black Juilliard students were subjected to a half-hour of an "auditory imagination experience" of slavery, according to a viral video posted by Marion Grey, one of the students forced to sit through the lesson.
Grey shared the content of the experience on her Instagram account. You can view it below.
WARNING: content is graphic and may be disturbing for some viewers
After Grey gives a bit of foregrounding on what happened in class, she plays two excerpts from the "experience," including one of a slave being auctioned off to White owners.
It was the first week of school at Juilliard, she noted, so:
"...classes [had] not even begun yet."
"And this was our first experience during the school year."
"This was our first quote unquote class experience during the school year."
"No one stopped it."
"Had it been an auditory experience of some other simulated traumatic event, had it been a 30-minute auditory experience of the Holocaust, had it been a 30-minute auditory experience of rape, I cannot believe that it would have been allowed to continue for 27 minutes."
People offered their support to Grey.
The workshop, which was listed as mandatory, did not contain any trigger warnings or any sort of care for students subjected to it.
People are wondering how a respected arts institution like Juilliard ever allowed this to happen.
Juilliard's President responded with a lengthy apology.
"To live our values requires an acknowledgment of mistakes we have made."
"To that end, I want to state unequivocally that this workshop was ill-conceived and should not have occurred in the manner that it did."
"I extend a heartfelt apology to the individuals who have been adversely affected by it."
"It is our responsibility as artists to tackle difficult topics in our work but we must ensure that we do so in a manner that respects and protects the members of our community."
However, Marion Grey and others agreed Juilliard's apology is not enough.
According to the petition linked in Grey's profile, the demands of the Black community of Juilliard are:
"1. Bias Reporting Team: Give Us Someone to Trust and Report to."
"2. (Begin to) Decolonize the Drama Division with new administrator hire."
"3. Hire an organization to assess, analyze, and review the inequitable, anti-black, and racist structures and systems that are built into the architecture of the Juilliard culture. You need to listen to them and make changes accordingly."
"4.Let Juilliard Student Congress Email the Student Body"
"5. Ask Drama Students if a trauma counseling specialist would be useful. If so, provide one."
Until these demands are met, Grey said she does not believe Black lives will matter at Juilliard.
Hopefully Juilliard will listen.
You can view Grey's petition here.