Black Theatre United today released its theme song and music video which was written and produced by members of the NYU Steinhardt community.

Black Theatre United's Stand For Change Cover Art. The top of the photo says Black Theater United Stand for Change and at the bottom all of the founding members are standing side-by-side.
Black Theatre United's Stand For Change Cover Art

Today, in partnership with the Republic Records Action Committee, Black Theatre United (BTU) – a coalition of acclaimed Black actors, directors, musicians, writers, technicians, producers and stage managers who are using their voices and platforms to effect change – released Stand For Change, the group’s theme song (and accompanying music video) which was written and produced by members of NYU Steinhardt’s Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions (MPAP) community.

The record and video feature performances by many of the founding Members of BTU – including BTU’s co-founder, singer, actress and this year’s NYU Steinhardt Dean Scholar-in-Residence Vanessa Williams, Lisa Dawn Cave, Darius de Haas, Carin Ford, Capathia Jenkins, LaChanze, Kenny Leon, Norm Lewis, Audra McDonald, Michael McElroy, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Wendell Pierce, Billy Porter, Anna Deavere Smith, Allyson Tucker, Tamara Tunie, Lillias White, NaTasha Yvette Williams, and Schele Williams.

The song was written by NYU Steinhardt professors Dave Schroeder and Phil Galdston, and was produced by Galdston, who is also director of the songwriting program at NYU Steinhardt, and faculty member David Swagg R’Celious Harris. It was mixed by Galdston, Harris and faculty member Kevin Killen and features contributions from the NYU Chamber Orchestra, arranged by Jazz Composer-in-Residence Rich Shemaria, conducted by NYU Steinhardt Director of Brass Studies Wayne DuMaine, recorded by the director of NYU Steinhardt's music technology program Paul Geluso, and the Broadway Inspirational Voices, arranged by Michael McElroy, associate arts professor and director of diversity initiatives at NYU Tisch. The video was directed by filmmaker Michael Cooke and produced by HunterPark Productions partners Bethanie Schwartz and Lauren Tuttman in collaboration with Liz Curtis.


Like BTU, Stand For Change was inspired by the tragic events of 2020 that sparked marches, demonstrations, protests and other forms of activism in support of racial justice in the United States. All proceeds from the sale of the record will support the ongoing efforts of Black Theatre United.

The full narration and lyrics are included here:

You cannot be afraid to speak up and speak out for what you believe.
You have to have courage, raw courage.

Stand for change!

I can’t tell you how, I can’t tell you when
But we’ll lay this burden down and lift our hearts again
Cause life has one refrain, one eternal flame
Nothing stays the same
So say their names...
Kneel down in righteous rage
And when you stand, take a stand for change

Stand for change...

We can curse the dark or we can light a light
Start with just one spark and burn forever bright
Freedom has its price, justice, sacrifice
But our eyes are on the prize
So say their names...
Kneel down in righteous rage
And when you stand, take a stand for change

Say their names
Stand up!
Say their names, stand for change

I can’t tell you how, I can’t tell you when
But we will never bend
So take a stand...
Stand up in righteous rage
Say his name, say her name, say their names
Cause they changed the world

Stand for change...
Stand for change ...
Stand for change!

We will stand up for what is right, what is fair, and what is just.

Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed unless it is faced.

About the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development
Located in the heart of New York City’s Greenwich Village, NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development prepares students for careers in the arts, education, health, media and psychology. Since its founding in 1890, the Steinhardt School's mission has been to expand human capacity through public service, global collaboration, research, scholarship, and practice. To learn more about NYU Steinhardt, visit

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Jordan Bennett
Jordan Bennett
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