Promise Me You'll Sing My Song

"Promise Me You'll Sing My Song" is an homage to Mr. Reuben Johnson, an innocent man who was lynched on December 27, 1874 in Mountain Creek, Texas, USA. Performed by dancer Matthew Roberts of Bruce Wood Dance (Dallas, TX) near the site of the lynching of Mr. Johnson, "Promise Me You'll Sing My Song" invites viewers to wrestle with history that hides in plain sight.

  • Jirard
  • Adam W. McKinney
  • Adam W. McKinney
  • Bruce Wood Dance
  • Matthew Roberts
    Key Cast
  • Adam W. McKinney
  • Najeeb Sabour
    Composer, Singer, Cellist
  • Adam W. McKinney
    Costume Design
  • Cole Vernon
  • Jirard
    Cinematographer / Editor
  • Pockett Brown
    Assistant Editor
  • Garrett Brown
    Grip / BTS Photographer
  • Brian Guilliaux
    Still Photographer
  • Adam W. McKinney
  • Project Type:
    Short, Other
  • Runtime:
    6 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    November 15, 2020
  • Production Budget:
    8,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Boulder Ballet Film Festival
    Boulder, CO
    United States
    March 15, 2021
    Special Recognition
  • Lone Star Film Festival Texas Short Film Showcase at Fort Worth Foto Fest
    Fort Worth, TX
    United States
    May 17, 2022
    Official Selection
  • Screen Dance International
    Detroit, MI
    United States
    September 10, 2022
    From Stage to Film Official Selection
  • ADF's Movies By Movers
    Durham, NC
    United States
    July 2, 2022
    Official Selection
  • Portland Dance Film Festival
    Portland, OR
    United States
    October 9, 2022
    Official Selection
  • Mineral Wells Film Festival
    Mineral Wells, TX
    United States
    August 20, 2022
    Official Selection
  • kNOwBOX dance Film Festival
    Dallas, TX & Seoul, Korea
    United States
    October 8, 2022
    Official Selection
  • Denton Black Film Festival
    Denton, TX
    United States
    January 28, 2023
    Runner-up, Best Screendance
Director Biography - Jirard, Adam W. McKinney

Co-Founder of Dallas-based multimedia company The DigiBees, Jirard is a multifaceted artist & award-winning filmmaker. He has directed Music Videos for a host of artists, including Avery Sunshine, Fred Hammond & Eric Roberson. He has also lent his talents as a Director of Photography to a number of short & feature-length films. He is currently working on, "Mosiah" the first-ever narrative film about Marcus Garvey. It will be his narrative directorial debut. He is also working on "Colour Treatment", a series of documentaries that explore the mainstream representation of blacks in film/TV, its evolution, and impact on today's culture and community.

Adam W. McKinney is a former member of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Béjart Ballet Lausanne, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, and Milwaukee Ballet Company. He has led dance work with diverse populations across the U.S. and in Benin, Canada, England, Ghana, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Palestine, Poland, Serbia, Spain, and South Africa. He served as a U.S. Embassy Culture Connect Envoy to South Africa through the U.S. State Department. Other awards of note include a Mid-America Arts Alliance Interchange grant for Fort Worth Lynching Tour, an augmented reality bike tour and dance performance around Fort Worth to remember a history of lynching; the NYU President's Service Award for dance work with populations who struggle with heroin addiction; grants from the U.S. Embassy in Budapest and The Trust for Mutual Understanding to work with Roma youth in Hungary; a Jerome Foundation grant for Emerging Choreographers; and a U.S. Embassy in Accra grant to lead a video oral history project with a Jewish community in Sefwi Wiawso, Ghana. He was a School of American Ballet's National Visiting Teaching Fellow, an opportunity to engage in important conversations around diversity and inclusion in classical ballet. Named one of the most influential African Americans in Milwaukee, WI by St. Vincent DePaul, McKinney is the Co-Director of DNAWORKS (, an arts and service organization committed to healing through the arts and dialogue. He serves as President for Tarrant County Coalition for Peace and Justice, a Fort Worth- based social justice organization. He holds a BFA in Dance Performance with high honors from Butler University and an MA in Dance Studies with concentrations in Race and Trauma theories from NYU-Gallatin. He is an Assistant Professor of Dance at Texas University in Fort Worth.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Bruce Wood commissioned us to create Promise Me You'll Sing My Song in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. Adam had been performing research on racial terror lynchings in Fort Worth, TX and it made sense to continue the practice by bringing to light the atrocity of the murder of Mr. Reuben Johnson. In Promise Me You'll Sing My Song we make the connections between the past and the present in the place in which Mr. Johnson was lynched. Matthew Roberts's performance is riveting, inspiring, and heart-wrenching. - Jirard & Adam W. McKinney, Co-Directors, Promise Me You'll Sing My Song