Jazz singer and songwriter Cécile McLorin Salvant shows complete control over the highs and lows of her powerful voice in her Tiny Desk concert, which NPR posted today (September 25). McLorin Salvant tears through three songs from her Grammy award-winning 2015 album, “For One to Love,” before finishing with an a cappella take on “Omie Wise.” The last song chronicles the murder of Naomi Wise in the 1800s. McLorin Salvant explains the need to perform a song with an ugly history in NPR’s accompanying article: 

Feminist themes are common in McLorin Salvant’s music, and while “Omie Wise” addresses gender-based violence, she says she sings difficult songs like this to address an important historical legacy. “We don’t sing to our kids and we don’t know any of our folk music anymore,” McLorin Salvant says. “But like all of the history of race songs, coon songs, minstrel music, music from Vaudeville, all of that is like, ‘No, we’re not going to address that—that’s too ugly.’”

Watch McLorin Salvant confront this legacy: