Black Opera Alliance Calls for Removal of David N. Tucker from Richard Tucker Foundation Position for Racist Comments

By David Salazar

The Black Opera Alliance has called for David Tucker to be removed from his position on the Board of the Richard Tucker Foundation after comments he made on a Facebook group.

In an open letter, the Alliance wrote the following:

Dear Mr. Peter Carwell, Mr. Jeffrey Manocherian, and the Richard Tucker Music Foundation
Boards of Directors, Artists, and Advisors:

We trust that you have been made aware of the vile and aggressive racism Mr. David N. Tucker recently expressed on the Facebook wall of a young Black opera singer and social activist. “Get rid of these thugs and I don’t care where you send them. They are a Pox on our society.” He is referring here to Black Lives Matter activists who reported having been illegally detained by predatory federal officers in unmarked vehicles. He continues on with similar unsophisticated rhetoric rooted in hate and ignorance. We are deeply disturbed. It is impossible for someone who holds these views to contribute productively to any organization that seeks to cultivate a culture of respect, equity, and justice. This was confirmed when Mr. Tucker dismissively retorted the following to another colleague’s concern that the Richard Tucker Music Foundation has only awarded the top prize to one Black artist throughout its entire history: “[P]ulling the race card is another convenient excuse to modify excellent stsndsrds [sic] of vocal artistry.”

This is white supremacy. If the Foundation does not recognize the destructive nature of this brand of social interaction, then the Foundation, too, is a part of the problem — and not the solution. Furthermore, while we applaud Mr. Carwell’s courage to engage with the outraged and confused readers on the thread, it is worth noting that his choice to refer to the words of a Black artist as “misleading” while leaving the hateful comments of the white aggressor unchecked is highly problematic. We are, however, encouraged by his willingness to personally address artists and his implied resolution to give this outrageous encounter the full attention of the Foundation.

We hereby demand that you:

• Remove David N. Tucker from the Foundation’s Board of Directors;
• Publicly condemn racist aggression/rhetoric and its violence — both physical and systemic;
• Undergo an external review of the Foundation’s structural processes to identify and correct potential implicit racial bias, as well as commit to an internal discussion around the concepts of veritable equity and inclusion.

These corrective measures are minimal given the magnitude of this atrocity and we urge the Foundation to employ any and all additional policies necessary to counter gross inequity as revealed via the third demand. We await your immediate action.


The Black Opera Alliance

“We have been too quiet for too long. There comes a time when you have to say something. You have to make a little noise. You have to move your feet. This is the time.” — Rep. John R. Lewis”

The son of famed tenor Richard Tucker was responding to a post regarding a Washington Post article on a Facebook group about Portland protesters being detained by Federal officers in unmarked vans. Several of his comments were made in response to such artists as tenor Russell Thomas and soprano Julia Bullock.

Lawrence Brownlee is the only Black artist to win the top prize from the Richard Tucker Foundation. He received the prize in 2006. There have been several Black artists to win the Sara Tucker Study Grants, including J’Nai Bridges, Ryan Speedo Green, Latonia Moore, and  Reginald Smith, Jr.

OperaWire reached out to the Richard Tucker Foundation for comment and will update this story if the organization responds.