Linda Diaz is the winner of the 2020 Tiny Desk Contest. Due to the pandemic, we're not currently filming Tiny Desks at NPR headquarters, so we brought Diaz and her band to the top of New York City's Jacob K. Javits Convention Center and produced a socially-distanced concert in front of the city's skyline. Here's the story of how this concert came together, in her own words.
Winning the Tiny Desk Contest has been a surreal experience for me, not only because it's a big, big honor, but because it's all happening in the midst of a global pandemic. Even just shooting my Tiny Desk (home) concert has been a wild ride: getting the band together, getting the NPR team together, figuring out how to shoot safely with everyone in New York City. At one point, we finally had everything set and ready to go. Then, days before the shoot, I tested positive for COVID-19. I will spare you all the details (lots of tears, lots of phone calls), but I am so grateful for my band, the NPR Music team and the Javits Center for going above and beyond for me, the human as much as me, the musician.
Even though I couldn't be at the Desk, I'm feeling lucky to have been able to share some extra little parts of my personality with my (home) concert. Like, how dope is it to be able to say that I'm not only the 2020 Tiny Desk Contest winner, but that we were the first musicians ever to perform on the top of the Javits Center?! In more ways than one, this concert is a victory and a dream come true for me.
Through this whole process, it has felt weird to be celebrating, but what has been reiterated time and again is that it is more than OK to be Black and celebrate and mourn and organize and rest and any other number of things. Black joy is radical because it actively opposes defeat. It is necessary.
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