Music is a universally loved language of expressions and melodies. But what if the music you love, create, and share gets mislabeled by your own church and community? In this episode of Where Ya From?, musician Ruth Naomi Floyd shares her story of growing up in Philadelphia and caring for the wounded and alienated and how that, paired with her faith, led her to unapologetically create jazz music that blends theology and justice for over 25 years.

Guest Bio

Ruth Naomi Floyd is a Philadelphia artist with an unwavering dedication to sacred jazz expression. Rooted in her faith and experiences of caring for the wounded and alienated in her community, Floyd has combined her musicianship with her activism to create music that blends theology and justice for over 25 years.

Her recent composition "Freedom" was commissioned to honor Mende Nazer's profound story of survival as a slave in Sudan and London. She also created The Frederick Douglass Jazz Works, a new body of work based on the speeches and writings of the great orator, abolitionist, writer, publisher, and statesman. She is currently working on a collection of musical work, in partnership with Intercultural Journeys, to honor the legacy and activism of Marion Anderson.

Floyd has received numerous awards and honors throughout her career, including the 2019-2020 Kimmel Center's Jazz Residency and an Honorary Doctorate from Concordia College - New York, for her “unique and valuable contribution to the arts, commitment to music education, and justice work.”

Currently, Floyd serves as an adjunct and artist in residence at Temple University. She formerly was the director of jazz studies at Cairn University.

From Our Daily Bread Ministries in partnership with Christianity Today.