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A mixed-race person with tan skin, mid-short cropped hair, short beard, and a black-and-silver outfit gazes beyond the camera.

Portrait photo by Ray Neutron.


Samora Pinderhughes

He // Him // His

Multidisciplinary Composer

New York, New York

My work is aimed at directly impacting the prison industrial complex, by creating art that explores the daily realities of structural violence, incarceration, detention, and policing in communities across the United States.”

Samora Pinderhughes is a composer, pianist, vocalist, filmmaker, and multidisciplinary artist known for striking intimacy and radically honest lyrics alongside high-level musicianship. Pinderhughes is also known for using his music to examine sociopolitical issues and fight for change, working in the tradition of the black surrealists: those who bend word, sound, and image towards the causes of revolution. He has collaborated with artists including Common, Herbie Hancock, Glenn Ligon, Sara Bareilles, Anna Deavere Smith, Simone Leigh, Daveed Diggs, Kyle Abraham, Titus Kaphar, and Lalah Hathaway. He also scored the award–winning documentaries Going to Mars and Whose Streets? and won 2021’s Best Experimental Film award at Blackstar Film Festival for Process, which he co-directed with Christian Padron.

Pinderhughes is the creator of The Healing Project, a constellation of creative works aimed at dismantling the carceral system and healing from structural violence. Developed over the past ten years, the ongoing project is based on Pinderhughes’ interviews with people around the country; now an organization has grown to include impact campaigns that fight to free incarcerated people through narrative change. Pinderhughes also released the album GRIEF, hailed as a “visionary” work from “one of the most affecting singer-songwriters today, in any genre” that “turn[s] the experience of living in community inside-out, revealing all its personal detail and tension, and giving voice to registers of pain that are commonly shared but not often articulated.” Pinderhughes invites the listener to enter the most vulnerable parts of the self, while never losing a sense of being accompanied.

Donor -This award was generously supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

This artist page was last updated on: 07.11.2024

“Masculinity,” 2022. Music from Samora Pinderhughes’ album GRIEF. Single-channel 35mm and 16mm film projection; color, sound, 07:34 minutes. Film directed by Christian Padron and Samora Pinderhughes.