EHS alumna Olivia Pierce inspired to publish original song “X-Ray”

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courtesy of Olivia Pierce

Linnea Shively, page editor

Following the death of George Floyd and protests across the country, Edina High School class of 2020 alumna Olivia Pierce—known as artist Moyana Olivia—was inspired to formally publish a song she had previously written to speak out against police brutality. 

After Minneapolis resident Philandro Castile’s death at a traffic stop in 2017—and the subsequent acquittal of Officer Jeronimo Yanez—Pierce channeled her frustration into an original song, “X-Ray.” “[It is] principally about equal rights for all and liberty for each and every one of us like it says in the Constitution,” Pierce said. 

In the three year period between writing and publishing, Pierce polished her lyrics to make every word count. “I could have said ‘caught up’ [in the pre chorus], but I chose to say ‘hung up’ to call out to the history of lynching black people in the United States,” Pierce said. Her soulful style blends harmonies into the music and adds more emotion to her intentional lyrics.

Along with publishing her song this September, Pierce also released a music video set in the aftermath of Uptown protests in the early summer. She draws attention to the pain of police brutality as she stands among rubble; “It’s important to talk about the pain that’s happening in our communities…but then we also have a call to action,” Pierce said. Juxtaposition with shots of murals supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, the George Floyd memorial, and views of the Minnesota State Capitol highlight her call to action for Minnesotans—use your voice to vote for change.

Although a majority of EHS students are unable to vote until the next election, she emphasizes that youth can still make a powerful difference. “Just because you’re not 18 doesn’t mean that you still don’t have a voice…you can still use your voice to get the word out by sharing things that you’re passionate about,” Pierce said. 

As a current college student and first-time voter, Pierce’s first steps into the adult world were tumultuous. “I’m growing into the world and inheriting it…there’s a discrepancy between the world I thought I was inheriting and the one that I now have to navigate,” Pierce said. Yet, she remembers that there is always more work to be done to make society more accepting of everyone and is using her music to spread that message.